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 hospitalsHere are some of those same library employees unmasked.
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
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.