On September 28, 1918, a Liberty Loan parade in Philadelphia prompts a huge outbreak of the flu epidemic in the city. By the time the epidemic ended, an estimated 30 million people were dead worldwide. Philadelphia was the hardest-hit city in the United States. After the Liberty Loan parade on September 28, thousands of people became infected. The city morgue, built to hold 36 bodies, was now faced with the arrival of hundreds within a few days. The entire city was quarantined and nearly 12,000 city residents died. Overall, in the United States, five out of every thousand people fell victim to the flu.
Find out more about the Influenza Epidemic of 1918 at the library
On this day in 1941, the Boston Red Sox’s Ted Williams plays a double-header against the Philadelphia Athletics on the last day of the regular season and gets six hits in eight trips to the plate, to boost his batting average to .406 and become the first player since Bill Terry in 1930 to hit .400. Williams, who spent his entire career with the Sox, played his final game exactly 19 years later, on September 28, 1960, at Boston’s Fenway Park and hit a home run in his last time at bat, for a career total of 521 homeruns. In addition to his .406 batting average–no major league player since him has hit .400–the left fielder led the league with 37 homers, 135 runs and had a slugging average of .735. Also that season, Williams, whose nicknames included “The Splendid Splinter” and “The Thumper,” had an on-base percentage of .553, a record that remained unbroken for 61 years, until Barry Bonds achieved a percentage of .582 in 2002. Find out more about the Splendid Splinter at the library.
Kate Douglas Wiggin (September 28, 1856 – August 24, 1923) was an American educator and author of children’s stories, most notably the classic children’s novel Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. She started the first free kindergarten in San Francisco in 1878 (the Silver Street Free Kindergarten). With her sister during the 1880s, she also established a training school for kindergarten teachers. Kate Wiggin devoted her adult life to the welfare of children in an era when children were commonly thought of as cheap labour. Visit Rebecca of Sunny Brook farm at the library.