Tuberculosis, also known as consumption, the White Plague, or simply TB, was the number-one killer in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many physicians of the era advised their patients to chase the cure for tuberculosis in the Southwest, where the region’s clean, dry, fresh air, high altitude, and sunshine offered relief for most and recovery for some. New Mexico, called the “well country,” was particularly eager to promote itself as a mecca for lungers with the coming of the railroad to the territory in 1880 and the creation of many new hospitals, known as sanitariums or sanatoriums (“sans”), which specialized in the treatment of TB. This is a brief history of New Mexico’s sans, their patients, and the doctors, nurses, and staff who served them during the golden age of the TB industry, from the turn of the 20th century to the eve of World War II.
About the Author
Richard Melzer is a professor of history at the University of New Mexico’s Valencia campus. He is the author of many books about the Southwest, including his award-winning Fred Harvey Houses of the Southwest, published by Arcadia Publishing in 2008. Jake W. Spidle Jr. is a retired history professor from the University of New Mexico. He is the author of Doctors of Medicine in New Mexico (1986).
Table of Contents
1 Inventing the Sans 9
2 Santa Fe's St. Vincent and Sunmount Sanatoriums 21
3 Albuquerque's St. Joseph Sanatorium 33
4 Albuquerque's Presbyterian Sanatorium 41
5 Albuquerque's Smaller Sanatoriums 51
6 New Mexico's Military Sanatoriums 67
7 Northern New Mexico Sanatoriums 85
8 Southern New Mexico Sanatoriums 97
9 Successes and Failures 117
10 Passing of an Era 125