Sunday was National Friends Day, so this Tuberculosis Thursday we're sharing a photograph of TB patients at Stony Wold. These young women, including Eileen Leavitt (right) and Carol Smith (second from the right) all cured at the Sanatorium on Lake Kushaqua in the late 1940s. It was common for patients taking the cure to form close friendships, and their shared experience often led to lifelong friendships. While we don't know if these ladies kept in touch, it's clear in the photographs that they enjoyed each other's company at Stony Wold.
[Photograph courtesy of Kevin Leavitt.]
This Tuberculosis Thursday, we want to share about some interesting TB history from elsewhere in the country. About 40 years before Dr. Trudeau's development of the "fresh air cure" in Saranac Lake, Dr. John Croghan experimented with using caves to treat TB patients. Dr. Croghan purchased Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, hoping that the cool, still air in the caves would improve the health of patients. He brought 16 patients to the cave in the winter of 1842, to live in two stone cabins and eight wooden buildings.
Dr. Croghan's cave sanatorium was unsuccessful, as the damp, dark, unventilated conditions worsened the patients conditions, and five of the sixteen patients died. After just five months, Dr. Croghan returned to the surface with the remaining patients, and abandoned the treatment buildings.
This attempted treatment method is of course in stark contrast to the method developed in Saranac Lake, where patients would spend as much time as possible in the fresh air and sunlight. This postcard (c. 1912) was recently acquired by Historic Saranac Lake and shows tourists outside one of the remaining stone cabins in Mammoth Cave.
If you want to learn more about Dr. Croghan's sanatorium in Mammoth Cave, check out this fascinating article from Mammoth Cave National Park.
[Historic Saranac Lake Collection, TCR 666.]
June is National Dairy Month, so for today's Tuberculosis Thursday post we're sharing about Saranac Lake's surprising dairy history! TB patients taking the cure were prescribed diets that were high in fat and protein to help them gain weight. Patients might be required to drink as many as eight glasses of milk a DAY. Dozens of dairy farms were established in Saranac Lake and the surrounding area to help support these dietary requirements.
This photograph shows just a few of the milk-related artifacts in our collection, including milk bottles, milk caps, and even an ashtray! To learn more about our local dairy history, head to the wiki.
PS - can you guess which favorite local summer tradition was born out of one of these dairies?!
The smell of lilacs is in the air all around Saranac Lake, so we thought we'd share this springy photograph of Trudeau Sanatorium for Tuberculosis Thursday. This photograph shows the path to the post office through the Sanatorium campus sometime between 1906 and 1928. Little Red is just visible behind the dining room annex of the Administration Building.
This photograph is also a sneak peek at a really important collections donation we just received. Our Archivist/Curator Chessie is working on inventorying the donation, so stay tuned for more news!
[Historic Saranac Lake Collection, TCR 682. Courtesy of Trudeau Institute.]
May 17 marks Norwegian Constitution Day, so this Tuberculosis Thursday, we want to share about a surprising connection between Saranac Lake and Norway. When the Nazis invaded Norway in 1940, many Norwegian merchant seamen who were at sea at the time came to the US and other allied countries, in the hope of joining the war effort. Given a medical examination in New York City, a number were found to be suffering from tuberculosis, and many of these found their way to Saranac Lake. It is difficult to know how many came, as they were spread among many different cure cottages, but the number may have been as high as five hundred.
During the 1940s, sixteen died in Saranac Lake, fifteen men and one woman, a sea captain's daughter; they are buried in a special section of Pine Ridge Cemetery that is maintained yearly at the expense of the Norwegian government. This photograph shows the marker in the Norwegian section, which reads: "In memory of Norwegian seafarers who died fighting for the liberation of their country, 1940-1945."
To learn more about the Norwegians who came to Saranac Lake, and the continued connection between our village and the Norwegian government, visit our wiki.
This Tuberculosis Thursday, we want to share a bit about medical quackery and "consumption" (AKA tuberculosis). This flyer for the Electricity Cough and Consumption Cure advertised its ability to cure "hopeless cases of consumption, asthma, pneumonia, pleurisy, and bronchitis."
We don't know for sure what was in this particular product, but similar tonics advertised to "cure" TB would often contain high levels of alcohol, opium, heroin, cocaine, chloroform, and more. For decades, desperate health seekers would purchase these concoctions. At best, they might help relieve or mask symptoms, but were absolutely ineffective against the tubercle bacillus. At worst, these products could contain deadly ingredients such as arsenic, creosote, and so on.
Did you see our "Medical Marvels" exhibit at the Saranac Laboratory Museum in 2014-15? We shared many more examples of medical quackery across the years!
[Historic Saranac Lake Collection, TCR 680. Courtesy of Karen Lewis and Beth Glover.]
This Tuberculosis Thursday, we’re celebrating National Poetry Month! John Theodore Dalton came to Saranac Lake to take the cure in 1923. While at Trudeau Sanatorium, he wrote poems, music, and plays, and after his death, a number of his poems were saved and published. Here’s one of his poems from “The Land of Dreams and other poems” that feels fitting for today’s spring weather. The second poem shows his interest in the works of Adelaide Crapsey, as well as his sense of humor. Happy National Poetry Month!
Learn more about John T. Dalton on our wiki!
Did you know that dogs could come take the cure at Trudeau Sanatorium? Just kidding - history hasn't gone to the dogs, but we couldn't resist this pup on a cure porch for an April Fools' Tuberculosis Thursday!
This photograph of a very good visitor at Phoenix Cottage was taken by Roger Parish while curing at Trudeau Sanatorium in the late 1930s. Roger kept an extensive album showing the Sanatorium grounds, his cottage, fellow patients, and the fun they had while taking the cure. His son Tom recently donated the album to us and we're excited to catalog the images and share more of them with you! Stay tuned!
Historic Saranac Lake Collection, TCR 678. Courtesy of Tom Parish, in memory of Roger Havens Parish.
Stay up to date on all the news and happenings from Historic Saranac Lake at the Saranac Laboratory Museum!