On this day: March 11
- In 1818, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was first published. Our three-volume first edition copy here at Special Collections is a particular favorite, and we make sure to point it out in tours.
- In 1918, a soldier at Fort Riley, Kansas, reported a headache, fever, and sore throat. By lunchtime, over 100 men had gone to the infirmary with the same symptoms. The flu spread to other army bases, prisons, and found its way to Europe by troops traveling overseas. This day marks the beginning of the great influenza epidemic that would wind up killing 675,000 Americans and approximately 20 million people worldwide.
- In 1952, science fiction author Douglas Adams was born in Cambridge, England. He wrote the classic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, which sold over 15 million copies during his lifetime.