Intro page to…The Diary of Maude (Sarah) Dwyer Mass During the Spanish Flu Pandemic 1918-1920

The Diary of Maude (Sarah) Dwyer Mass During the Spanish Flu Pandemic     1918-1920

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January 1 to 9 

January 10-10

This diary is written my Maude (Sarah) Dwyer Mass. Maude is Helen Nugent’s mother. She was known as Sarah. She was a twenty-four-year-old single lady when she wrote this diary. She kept this “line a day”, diary for three years. It is called a comparison record. She was faithful to make an entry each day for 2 ½ years. It is particularly interesting because this is the time that the Spanish Flu Pandemic was spread around the world. The pandemic lasted from 1918 to 1922. It killed about 650,000 Americans. This diary gives a glimpse of young lady’s life during the pandemic in the Los Angeles area.  She stopped the diary in April 1920 and got married 8-23-20. I suppose she had marriage preparation on her mind and let the diary entries stop. They got married in the middle of the pandemic.

Sarah was born 9-21-1894 in Marysville California. Her father, William Dwyer married Nora Lee Dwyer. They were both from Ireland. They settled in Arizona with four children. They moved to Marysville and had twelve kids, but eight survived. One child was bit by a rattle snake in Arizona and died.

Sarah at two or three years old.

Sarah as a young girl

Sarah is the young girl in the carriage

Sarah family. She is on the chair.

      Sarah married Albert 8-23-1919 in Los Angeles. She was a housewife. She was a member of the Catholic Daughters. T.O.P.S., Altar Society, and various other church activities. She died in 1974 of Emphysema and an irregular heartbeat. Lola M., born in 2005, was named after her late great-grandmother, Sarah Maude Mass.

Albert (Al) Mass in his army uniform.

     Albert was born 4/1/1894 in Cincinnati Ohio. He met Sarah for the first time at a USO dance, a dance meant to entertain the soldiers and they married in Los Angeles 8-23-1919. According to Helen (Mass) Nugent, they did not initially get married in the traditional way. They went to the priest’s home at night and threw some stones at his window, waking him up to marry them.

Their 50th anniversary was spent in Montebello California. That is where they lived. Albert was known as Uncle Al. He had started smoking at 6 years old and he succumbed to lung cancer. He worked as a porcelain enameller. Later on, he became a maintenance electrician through reading books.  He worked at O’Keefe and Merrit Co. He was known for being able to fix things.  Albert’s dad was Albert “Gus” Mass, from Germany. He Lived in Cincinnati Ohio and had a trucking business. His mother was Anna Speakerman (? Spiekerman) She was born on Cincinnati Ohio. She died in 1940 in an accident with a mail truck. Albert died 11-1974. He is interned at Resurrection Cemetery in Monterrey Park California.

mass and nugent families 1963

Al, Sarah, Edwin, Helen and Ken Nugent with Michelle and Chris Nugent.



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