Originally from Ferns, Co Wexford, and currently living in Kildare, Dr Ida Milne worked in the newspaper industry and as a travel journalist, before returning to education in 2000. She was awarded the prestigious Irish Research Council Marie Sklowodska Curie Actions Elevate fellowship in 2014-18, for a project exploring the impact of infectious diseases of childhood on Irish society over the course of the 20th century. Her principle research field is the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic. During Covid-19, she has become a frequent commentator on news media in Ireland and internationally about the lessons to be drawn from the history of epidemic disease.
Milne is a member of the Royal Irish Academy Historical Sciences Committee. She is a founder member and past vice chair of the Oral History Network of Ireland, and a committee member of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine Ireland Network. She currently chairs the European Social Science Conference Health and Environment Strand, and is co-chair with Professor Martha Norkunas of the International Committee of the Oral History Association (US). She is a member of the OHS, IAPH and of the WHAI.
Ida’s principle research areas lie in the social history of infectious disease, particularly in the 1918-19 influenza pandemic and in infectious diseases of childhood. She is particularly interested in the short and long term impact of these diseases on people’s lives, and how damage from disease can influence life outcomes; she finds oral history is a useful way to access the intimate human experience of disease, and uses this in tandem with statistics and other written sources to write a holistic history. She is currently working on the history of infant ‘summer’ diarrhoea, looking the international influences on local management of a disease that used to be a major killer in the Global North, and still is in underdeveloped countries. Her other research interests include working lives in medicine and in the newspaper industry, gender in the workplace, and 26-country Irish Protestantism.
Select publications and reviews
- Stacking the Coffins, Influenza, war and revolution in Ireland 1918-1919 (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2018). See advance reviews here: http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9781526122698/
- Dr Christopher Kissane’s Irish Times review of Milne’s work:
- ‘In St James’s hospital, coffins were stacked up to 18-high in the mortuary’. Irish Times 1918 supplement, 24 April 2018.
- ‘Nursing and Nutrition: treating the 1918-1919 influenza patient; The Recipes Project https://recipes.hypotheses.org/10306
- ‘Dublin’s poor children in a transitional Ireland: disease, agents of change… and flies’ in Ríona nic Congail, Mary Hatfield and Jutta Kruse, editors, Historical Perspectives on Parenthood and Childhood in Ireland (Arlen House, 2018).
- ‘Influenza: the Irish Local Government Board’s Last Great Crisis,’ in Virginia Crossman and Sean Lucey (Eds.), Healthcare in Ireland and Britain 1850-1970: voluntary, regional and comparative perspectives. London: IHR, 2015
- ‘Stacking the coffins: the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in Dublin’ in Lisa Marie Griffith and Ciaran Wallace, editors, Grave Matters: death and dying in Dublin 1500 – 2000, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2016.
BA in Humanities (Oscail), NUIM, 2004. MA in Modern History, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, 2005. PhD, Trinity College, Dublin, 2011 for her dissertation ‘The 1918-19 influenza pandemic in Ireland: a Leinster Perspective’.