American Red Cross influenza mask bundles and bag
These two bundles of face masks were made by Red Cross volunteers from St. Paul in October 1918, to protect soldiers and civic leaders from the Spanish flu. October 1918 was the deadliest month of the flu pandemic, when 195,000 Americans died. The disease was rapidly spreading, as soldiers traveled overseas and lived in close, confined areas with many other people. Worldwide, an estimated 50 million people -- mostly 20- to 40-year-olds -- died of the Spanish flu from 1918-1919.Each mask has muslin ties sewn to each corner and is marked with row of three black cross-stitches.