As we mark the last Tuberculosis Thursday of Women's History Month, we want to share a bit about Stony Wold Sanatorium. Stony Wold was started by Elizabeth Newcomb to serve as a sanatorium for underprivileged young women suffering from TB. It opened on Lake Kushaqua in 1901, and at its peak in the 1930s it consisted of 20 buildings and a farm, and generated its own electricity.
Thousands came to cure at Stony Wold, including Lillian Synoracki Wilczak, who is pictured, waving, at bottom left in this group photo in the late 1920s. The Sanatorium also treated children, and eventually allowed some men. Elizabeth Newcomb died of tuberculosis in 1938 and was buried on the property. Stony Wold closed in 1955.
Learn more about Stony Wold and some of the women in its history on our wiki.
[Historic Saranac Lake Collection, TCR 638. Courtesy of Karen Jacobs.]
This week's Tuberculosis Thursday feature is Elizabeth Widmer. Widmer was from Berne, Switzerland, and came to Saranac Lake as a patient after graduating from Johns Hopkins Nursing School. She also worked as a nurse in Saranac Lake. She cured in a few locations around Saranac Lake, including Trudeau Sanatorium. She married Beanie Barnet, publisher of the Trotty Veck Messengers, in 1940 at William Morris' Camp Intermission. Their family always included a cocker spaniel. Pictured here is Breezy, who apparently preferred hamburger!
[Photograph of Beanie and Elizabeth Widmer Barnet, and their dog, Breezy. Historic Saranac Lake Collection.]
For Tuberculosis Thursday, we want to tell a bit of the story of Jean Monaghan, and share an exciting new donation to the collection in her honor. Jean was a patient at Stony Wold Sanatorium in the 1940s. She was a talented artist, and her time as a patient instilled in her a love of nature and an appreciation for its healing benefits. After her successful cure, she pursued a career in apparel design, and continued to create art for pleasure. When she died, she left behind more than 100 paintings, drawings, and photographs from her lifelong love of the arts.
While Jean did not discuss the details of her illness while she was alive, her nephew Philip recognized her in a photograph at Stony Wold in the American Experience documentary, the Forgotten Plague. This chance moment led to a visit in 2018 to the Saranac Laboratory Museum to find out more about her time as a patient, and a connection with Historic Saranac Lake. This winter, Philip generously donated a portfolio of 10 pieces that Jean painted while curing, including this self-portrait at right. We are hard at work rehousing and cataloging these fascinating paintings, but we couldn't wait to share a peek at them. Stay tuned for more on Jean's life and the works she produced at Stony Wold!
[Photograph of two of Jean Monaghan's paintings; one landscape showing the water tower at Stony Wold, and one self-portrait. Photograph of Jean Monaghan and her parents and siblings during a visit at Stony Wold, 1940s. Historic Saranac Lake Collection, TCR 671. Courtesy of Philip Monaghan, in memory of Jean Monaghan, 1923-2011.]
Adelaide Crapsey was a fascinating poet who came to Saranac Lake for the cure in 1913. To hear a reading of one of the poems she wrote while taking the cure, check out this video from Curiously Adirondack!
To learn more about Adelaide, visit our wiki!
Our next Women's History Month feature is Annie Leonard Baldwin. She operated the Baldwin School on Pine Street with her husband Ernest H. Baldwin, who was the brother of Dr. Edward R. Baldwin. The Baldwin School opened in 1908 as a "private day and tutoring school" that served students of all ages. While its offerings and student body changed throughout its 34 years, its main focus was on schooling students whose education had been "interrupted" elsewhere, including those with health concerns. Following the death of her husband in 1922, Annie continued to operate the Baldwin School for 20 more years. She died in 1956.
[Historic Saranac Lake Collection, TCR 448. Courtesy of Barbara Baldwin Knapp.]
March is Women's History Month, so we're going to share images that tell the stories of women in local history. This image shows the 1931 graduating class of the D. Ogden Mills Training School for Nurses at Trudeau Sanatorium. This training school was originally established in 1913 with support from Mrs. Whitelaw Reid, and had an unusual requirement for admission--an arrested case of tuberculosis. Dr. Trudeau believed that young women who had endured tuberculosis and regained their health would have a greater understanding of patients' needs and care.
[1931 graduating class, D. Ogden Mills Training School for Nurses. Historic Saranac Lake Collection, TCR 582. Courtesy of Jan Dudones.]
Stay up to date on all the news and happenings from Historic Saranac Lake at the Saranac Laboratory Museum!