Flu Pandemic 1918: Fashion, Masks & Flu Veils

Part Nine

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


Sources:

Kansas City Star, Los Angeles Record, Leader-Post, Daily Province, Ogden Standard