Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mystery History -- Solved

Karin came closest so I'm giving her the fabulous prize! She figured it had something to do with the 1918-1919 pandemic, and she was right.

In the photo above, Pasadena Public Library staff don masks during the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 that spread to 20 percent of the world's population and killed more than half a million people in the U.S. and 50 million worldwide.

Some people have been freaking out about the Swine Flu lately, but it's nothing compared to this post-World War I pandemic.

Pasadena Star-News headlines included these:

City to manage all influenza hospitals

Red Cross sells over 8000 masks

Police are busy with arrests: Persons on streets with no masks compelled to go to court

Gauze protectors may be removed at 5 o'Clock this evening: City returning to normal as influenza greatly lessened
Here are some of those same library employees unmasked.

They worked in the building located in what was known as Library Park (now Memorial Park). This is a postcard with a color-tinted photo. Note the bicycles against the retaining wall at lower left.

Here's a wider shot of the park.

Here's what's left of that library (many thanks to Petrea).

I've always been intrigued by this photo taken in 1920 of Pasadena City Librarian Jeanette Drake (in white) and two unidentified people. That's the Pacific Electric street car barn across the street.

Still worried about Swine Flu? Rest easy by reading the latest update here.

Many thanks to Pasadena Public Library.


Margaret said...

Good job, Karin. And thanks, Ann, for the interesting history lesson.

altadenahiker said...

I think I've been channeling the flu lately. But, wow, winner! Thanks PIO, and look forward to my city hall poster.

Petrea said...

Nice detective work, Karin. And a lovely post by Ann. I love these old photos.

Cafe Observer said...

Well, at least I came in 2nd place to the 2nd Act of AltaDena. So, I don't feel 2 bad.

altadenahiker said...

And P's right -- can't get enough of these old photos

Anonymous said...

yeah .. the hiker scores!

What Pasadena looked like in 1918 said...

This is really so much fun!