Skip to main content

Cal Poly Research via University Archives

Researching Cal Poly

The 1918-19 Pandemic in San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly

The 1918-1919 pandemic impacted Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo County during the winter of 1918-1919. The Influenza reached the coast by October 1918 and caused the closure of city schools in the autumn. Cal Poly remained open until the winter break, but Cal Poly Director Ryder placed the school under military quarantine during November and December. Students were required to wear masks outside of their rooms, and student cadets barred the public from coming on campus. The disease returned during January, and Cal Poly postponed the opening of the spring semester by several weeks, starting February 17, 1919. 

1918 Flu at Cal Poly - Materials in the University Archives

Collections that include information about the 1918-19 Pandemic:

Photo of a group of students and faculty standing on a field and dressed in military uniform with a caption that says "Battalion"

Cal Poly Student Newspaper: 

Cal Poly yearbooks: 

Director's Reports:

San Luis Obispo newspaper coverage can be searched in two places:

Expand your search

Secondary sources on the Pandemic impact at Cal Poly and San Luis Obispo

Morris Eugene Smith's A History of California State Polytechnic: The First Fifty Years, 1901-1951, a useful secondary source. View here: https://digital.lib.calpoly.edu/rekl-94735​

Articles and broadcasts: