In honor of World TB Day and Tuberculosis Thursday, we are proud to share the news about an important collection now available to browse in our online collections database. The Florence Wright Tuberculosis Postcard Collection provides an intimate look at the lives of the TB patients who came to Saranac Lake in search of a cure between the 1880s and 1950s. The first half of this 130+ card collection has been cataloged, transcribed, and digitized, and is now available to browse for free on our PastPerfect Online Collections Database.
Patients were often only allowed to write a single postcard a day in order to maintain their strength, so these cards contain intensely personal news about their physical and mental health. These cards report on accommodations, weight gain, activities, relationships, and even deaths. They contain messages of hope, excitement, sadness, and of course, loneliness, like this 1906 card with the simple message, "Rather lonesome."
The Florence Wright Tuberculosis Postcard Collection is a passion project assembled by Florence Wright over more than 20 years, and donated to Historic Saranac Lake in 2021! Florence became an avid stamp and Christmas Seal collector in retirement, and started to notice these missives from TB patients and their families at stamp shows. She began collecting cards that showed TB sanatoria and cure cottages, especially ones with messages relating to TB treatment. We are so grateful to Florence for her thoughtful donation to our organization, and hope that you learn as much as we have by exploring them. The second half of the collection should be completed and up online by the end of next week!
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[Front side of postcard showing village of Saranac Lake with message, "Rather lonesome" written at bottom, 1906. Historic Saranac Lake Collection, 2021.3.24. Courtesy of the Florence Wright Tuberculosis Postcard Collection.]
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