“Mayhem and Med Students After the 19–Halifax Explosion”
an online exhibit from the University of Virginia
The explosion erupted at 9:05 a.m. on a cold winter morning.
It leveled two square miles of the city, leaving 2,000 dead, 9,000 injured, and 30,000 with little or no shelter. Among the casualties were the doctors and nurses who would normally have cared for the injured, and hospitals were destroyed or severely damaged. Then a blizzard began, bringing gale-force winds and sub-freezing temperatures.
The lives of the injured lay mostly in the hands of medical students, first aid volunteers, a few nurses, and surviving friends and neighbors.
The story of the Halifax explosion on December 5, 1917, is one of the most dramatic in modern history. Learn about the explosion, the volunteers, the blinded children, and the relief trains in the online exhibit of the Historical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia.
Joan Echtenkamp Klein
Alvin V. & Nancy Baird Curator for Historical Collections
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
University of Virginia