It’s been too long since we’ve posted, so here’s a tiny update in keeping with our current thread on COVID-19 and the Spanish Flu. These ads and articles come from 1918 newspapers that show a trend of wearing “flu veils” and masks to stave off influenza. It’s interesting to see the different takes on beauty! One piece notes, “It’s better to be safe than good-looking,” and another finds the flu veils “bewitching” and “delightful.”
Judging from the following poem, which appeared in the Ogden Standard in December 1918, it would seem the anti-mask movement rankled in much the same way it does today:
“If you think you have the Flu—wear a mask; though some fuss it puts you to—wear a mask; YOU may not believe it’s right—cuss about it day and night—keep your faith and conscience bright—wear a mask! If you think that you’re quite well—wear a mask; wiser heads than yours can’t tell—wear a mask; snare that ‘bug’ before he bites, interrupt his fatal flights, thus you’re spared some awful nights—wear a mask! If you think you know it all—wear a mask; if you think your thinks are small—wear a mask; You would fight for Uncle Sam? Then for him give Flu a lam. If you’re worth a tinker’s damn—wear a mask! Though you swear and sweat and rave—wear a mask; some dear neighbor you may save by that task; doctors say—and they should know—that masks will make this fluzzy go, then do your part or shame will show through your mask! This ONE lesson you should learn—WEAR A MASK; though your mouth and nostrils burn—wear a mask; it’s a shame when you or I let this SIMPLE thing go by, then weep and wail when loved ones die—wear a mask!” –Mace Walton
Kansas City Star, Los Angeles Record, Leader-Post, Daily Province, Ogden Standard
3 thoughts on “Flu Pandemic 1918: Fashion, Masks & Flu Veils”
Fascinating post, the message is as important today as it was then. I hope you and family are keeping well?
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Thank you! Yes, we are all well — hoping the same is true for you and yours. Trying times…
Love it! Many people today have masks for every outfit and every occasion. The important thing is to wear one.
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