My student for this week is Miss Phoebe Stone (石非比, pinyin Shí Fēibǐ), who was the younger sister of the famous Dr. Mary Stone, one of the first Western-trained female physicians in China, and one of the first Chinese women to study in the United States. Mary is a little bit outside of the time period of my research, but Phoebe fits right in, and I’m excited to share her story with you.
It’s flu season again, and it seems to be a pretty harsh one from what my friends on social media and local news stories indicate. Just the other day I read a story about a healthy 22-year old who got the flu and died. The indication so far is that his death was a fluke – normally only the very young, old, and immunocompromised are at risk of dying from flu – but it still put me in mind of the 1918 “Spanish flu” pandemic that had such a high mortality rate among young people. The 1918 flu was a worldwide pandemic that caused an overreaction of the immune systems of those who were infected, leading to respiratory complications like pneumonia which ended up being fatal. And since the students I have been researching were all young adults during this pandemic, I’ve encountered several Boxer Indemnity Scholars who were affected and even died from the flu or pneumonia during the time of the outbreak.