A librarian has made it her mission to correct the death toll.

When the 1906 San Francisco earthquake hit, the official death toll was reported to be less than 500. For 50 years, the librarian Gladys Hansen, who is now 88 years old, made it her goal to correct the record and properly count the dead—so much so that she says people think of her as the “death lady.” This short film by Catharine Axley, Counting the Dead, tells Hansen’s story, and how she’s still finding names to add to her list of thousands over a century after the quake happened.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Transportation

    Electric Scooters Aren’t a Transportation Revolution Yet

    New data show a staggering rise in shared dockless e-scooter use nationwide. But commuting habits have seen little change since the dawn of micromobility.

  2. a photo of a man surveying a home garage.
    Transportation

    How Single-Family Garages Can Ease California's Housing Crisis

    Given the affordable housing crisis, California cities should encourage single-family homeowners to convert garages into apartments and accessory dwelling units.

  3. A new map of neighborhood change in U.S. metros shows where displacement is the main problem, and where economic decline persists.
    Equity

    From Gentrification to Decline: How Neighborhoods Really Change

    A new report and accompanying map finds extreme gentrification in a few cities, but the dominant trend—particularly in the suburbs—is the concentration of low-income population.

  4. Solar panels on a New York City rooftop.
    Environment

    New York City Passes Sweeping Climate Legislation

    The Climate Mobilization Act lays the groundwork for New York City’s own Green New Deal.

  5. Design

    How Smart Should a City Be? Toronto Is Finding Out

    A data-driven “neighborhood of the future” masterminded by a Google corporate sibling, the Quayside project could be a milestone in digital-age city-building. But after a year of scandal in Silicon Valley, questions about privacy and security remain.