The Spanish Flu & North Texas Oil

Last Wednesday and Thursday, I buried myself in the Wichita County Archives. I came across over fifty articles regarding the Spanish Flu and the Oil Boom in Wichita Falls. The archivists helped me search the endless stacks of print to locate these rare records. I contacted the United Regional Health Care System of Wichita Falls (The Wichita Falls Hospital), the Wichita County Records office, and the Texas Department of Vital Records. None of these governmental agencies possessed any records of the Spanish Flu in Wichita Falls. The Texas Department of Vital Records stated that most of the Texas medical records before the year of 1930 had been destroyed. No justification was given to why the records were missing. Possibly, these records were damaged in a fire. The newspaper records at the Wichita County Archives may be my only source regarding the Spanish Flu.

I attempted to go back to the Wichita County archives today (03/24) however, the archive was closed. The archivists were all sick. The museum curator did not know when they would return. Hopefully, they don’t have the flu (haha). I ventured over the county library and obtained a source relating to to the “Women’s Movement” of Wichita Falls. I gave this source to Laura so she can begin outlining the women s contribution to Wichita Falls home front.  The sources relating to the Oil Boom I predict will be easier to organize. North Texas produced nearly forty percent of the entire oil output of the Mid-continent. These records have not been challenging to locate. However, Laura and I will encounter difficulty in our attempt to independently economically assess the significance of Call Field in relation to the Oil Boom. Arguably, we would have to compare Wichita Falls to another city in the region which also experienced an oil boom without a military airfield. I am afraid that given our time constraint, this may be impossible.

Like many of our peers, Laura and I will have to work hard to achieve our April first deadline. Where did the time go? I feel several sleepless nights may be upon us. However, we have most of our content organized and ready to be published. On Wednesday (03/25), we will work on a website theme and hopefully transform our outline into a functioning website. Laura reported to me that our paper received the panel award at the Alpha Chi conference in Chicago. Such news is only encouraging. In addition, our research was accepted at the Mississippi State University Undergraduate Conference.

One thought on “The Spanish Flu & North Texas Oil”

  1. Wow, congrats on the award and your acceptance at the Miss. State UR conference. You are right, there’s not enough time to make comparatives in order to connect the oil boom to Call Field — but, the oil boom is still an important part of your narrative for postwar Wichita Falls’ economy.

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