May 9, 2022

USU Undergraduate Ericka Stone Presents Research on Smallpox Quarantining

On Wednesday, April 13, 2022, English Undergraduate Researcher of the Year Ericka Stone delivered a presentation titled “Cache Valley Under Quarantine: Smallpox Quarantine Practices in Cache Valley, ca. 1880-1920,” to the Cache Valley Historical Society in the Historical Cache County Courthouse. Under the mentorship of Dr. Christine Cooper-Rompato, Ericka spent the 2021-2022 school year researching many aspects of quarantine as it was implemented locally over 100 years ago. Her 40-minute presentation explored the governing bodies that implemented quarantine in Cache Valley, as well as how quarantine was enforced through newspaper announcements about outbreaks, the displaying of quarantine flags in front of homes, and the building of pesthouses. A highlight of her talk was the various excuses people gave for breaking quarantine, including excuses that might sound familiar to those who have lived through the Covid-19 pandemic: some people claimed that it was their right to do what they wanted to and not be dictated to by government, and one person even admitted that she tore down the quarantine flag because it clashed with the visual aesthetic of her house. Ericka ended her presentation by discussing smallpox vaccine hesitancy in Utah. Ericka’s research was supported by a generous scholarship from the Cache Valley Historical Society.



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