Marion County Tuberculosis Association photograph collection
Scope and Contents
- 1914-1965, undated
- Marion County Tuberculosis Association (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
In 1914, the Marion County society shared offices with the Indiana Society for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis (later the Indiana Tuberculosis Association) at 147 East Market Street, Indianapolis. In 1919, the society changed its name to the Marion County Tuberculosis Association (MCTA), following the trend set by the newly titled National Tuberculosis Association (NTA). Prominent early members of MCTA included Dr. John N. Hurty, Dr. Theodore Potter, and Dr. Alfred Henry, who served as MCTA president from 1913 to 1927. Mary A. Meyers, a trained nurse, served as the first executive secretary of the organization from 1913 until her retirement in 1947, when she was succeeded by Alfred E. Kessler.
Like other tuberculosis associations nationwide, MCTA annually sold "Christmas seals"--festive stickers used to seal envelopes--to raise money in support of their efforts. The first Christmas seals were sold in the United States in 1907 and their sale was a joint endeavor of the American Red Cross and the National Tuberculosis Association until 1919, when NTA took sole responsibility.
Using money raised from seal sales and other donations, MCTA provided health education to the citizens of Marion County; employed visiting nurses to serve tuberculosis patients in the area; offered chest x-rays and tuberculin testing to students and employees of businesses and organizations; conducted community surveys; and lobbied for public health and anti-TB legislation. The organization utilized posters, pamphlets, exhibits, stories, songs, pageants, motion pictures, seminars, health fairs, and community meetings to educate school children and adult groups about tuberculosis prevention, proper hygiene, sanitation, and nutrition. MCTA also provided continuing education opportunities to medical professionals. The association also founded and supported institutions for medical treatment and prevention, including free clinics, open air schools, a sanatorium, and a nutrition camp for malnourished children.
The Theodore Potter Fresh Air School opened with a class of 25 children in 1914 on the grounds of Arsenal Technical High School. The Indianapolis School Board provided the school's teacher and equipment, but MCTA provided the food, car fare, extra clothing, and a nurse. In 1918, the school board assumed responsibility for the building. A new, larger school building, accommodating 160 children, opened at 1601 East 10th Street, Indianapolis in January, 1924. By 1938, seven other fresh air school rooms operated in regular school buildings, serving approximately 400 children every year. The fresh air school program served sickly and at-risk children in contact with TB, providing physical examinations, treatment, daily 2-hour rest periods, nourishing food, and health supervision.
Sunnyside Sanatorium, with its 80 beds, opened its doors in 1917 near Oaklandon (now a neighborhood in northeast Indianapolis) to specifically treat TB patients using state-of-the-art methods. The sanatorium established a free tuberculosis clinic for residents of rural Marion County. Dr. Harold S. Hatch served as the first superintendent of the institution until he resigned in 1929. The sanatorium grew to 250 beds by 1938, with out-patient, occupational therapy, and social service departments, as well as a children's building and two cottages in addition to the original buildings. In the early 1960s, control of Sunnyside Sanatorium was transferred to the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, continuing operations until the sanatorium closed in 1969 when its patients moved to a new wing of Indianapolis General Hospital. In 1977, the sanatorium building was demolished.
Sunnyside Sanatorium primarily offered care only to white patients. MCTA and other organizations supported clinics Flanner House and other places around Indianapolis to provide examinations and treatment for African Americans suffering from tuberculosis. Unsurprisingly, the death toll in African American communities remained much higher than in the white demographic, largely due to poor living conditions, insufficient funding, and inadequate health care. In the late 1950s, the four TB clinics consolidated into one at the Flower Mission unit of Indianapolis General Hospital.
The nutrition camp for sickly children was founded after MCTA determined the need for a children's "preventorium", to provide preventative care for children at risk for tuberculosis or other ailments. The camp was located on 80 acres in Bridgeport, Indiana. The first building, the Margaret McQuiddy Memorial Cottage, opened in 1928 and accommodated 28 children. In 1936, a new building opened and the camp was renamed the Julia Jameson Nutrition Camp for Frail Children, accommodating 80 boys and girls each summer. The camp continued into the 1960s and offered activities such as cookouts, nature study and fishing, sports, crafts, drama and singing, swimming, and writing for the children, while providing special emphasis on maintaining good habits for personal health.
The discovery of the antibiotic streptomycin in 1945 greatly reduced the number of deaths from TB and by the 1960s, tuberculosis was no longer considered a serious threat to the greater population. In the face of this development, MCTA's chest x-ray program was discontinued while medical social work and rehabilitation of patients with TB and other respiratory diseases continued. This caused tuberculosis associations nationwide to broaden their focus to include other respiratory diseases and concerns, including pollution, cigarette smoke, lung cancer, and asthma. In the mid-1960s, the association changed its name to the Marion County Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association (MCTRDA) to reflect its shifting scope, following the trend of national and state organizations.
In 1968, restructuring within the National Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases Association (NTRDA) required local and regional associations to reorganize in order to maintain affiliate status. On March 15, 1972, MCTRDA joined with similar organizations from the surrounding 7 counties--designated as Region 8 within Indiana--to form the Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases Association of Central Indiana. Shortly thereafter, the new organization was renamed the American Lung Association of Central Indiana. The new association's board had representations from each of the 8 counties, which included Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan, and Shelby counties.
Items in the collection and the American Lung Association of Central Indiana collection (L627).
American Lung Association. "The History of Christmas Seals." Christmas Seals. Accessed June 30, 2017. http://www.christmasseals.org/history.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Basic TB Facts." Tuberculosis (TB). Accessed June 30, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/basics/default.htm.
Gascoine, Kelly Gayle. "Saving Children From the White Plague: The Marion County Tuberculosis Association's Crusade Against Tuberculosis, 1911-1936." MA thesis, Indiana University, 2010. Accessed June 30, 2017. http://hdl.handle.net/1805/2188.
McDonell, Katherine Mandusic. "Medicine." In The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer and Robert G. Barrows, 121-131. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994.
0.6 Cubic Feet (2 manuscript boxes)
Language of Materials
- Indianapolis (Ind.)
- Indianapolis (Ind.) -- Societies and clubs
- Julia Jameson Nutrition Camp (Bridgeport, Indianapolis, Ind.)
- Lungs -- Diseases
- Marion County (Ind.)
- Marion County Tuberculosis Association
- Medical care
- Medical care -- Indiana
- Open-air schools
- Public health
- School hygiene
- Seals and labels (Philately)
- Sunnyside Sanatorium (Oaklandon, Ind.)
- Tuberculosis -- Hospitals
- Tuberculosis -- Nursing
- Tuberculosis -- Patients
- Tuberculosis -- Patients -- Rehabilitation
- Tuberculosis in children
- Marion County Tuberculosis Association photograph collection
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description