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American Lung Association of Central Indiana collection

Identifier: L627

Scope and Contents

This collection contains organizational records including administrative records, financial information, correspondence, reports, statistical data and maps, broadsides, pamphlets and periodicals, scrapbooks, photographs, and audiovisual materials from the American Lung Association of Central Indiana and its primary predecessor, the Marion County Tuberculosis Association, in Indianapolis, Indiana ranging from 1903 to 1977 regarding the organizations' activities in the eradication of tuberculosis (TB) and other respiratory diseases in Marion County and later, central Indiana. The collection is organized into 8 series.

Series 1 comprises administrative and organizational records (1908-1977), such as general correspondence, constitutions and bylaws, annual reports, meeting minutes and agendas, committee reports, financial records, contracts and official documents, publicity scrapbooks and clippings, and fundraising materials. The most significant portion of the records on fundraising activities concerns the annual Christmas seal campaigns. Also included are materials related to the organization's annual meetings, as well as newsletters published for the benefits of its members and the public.

Series 2 concerns health education and treatment program materials (1903-1977), which relate to the organization's work in public and community health, including data collection, health education, legislation, and the diagnosis, treatment, and eradication of tuberculosis, as well as rehabilitation for those infected, primarily in Marion County. Many of the materials are from health education campaigns to raise awareness, promote prevention, and ensure treatment for tuberculosis among various groups and populations in Marion County, such as schools, businesses, neighborhoods, hospitals, community organizations, and medical professionals. Fact finding records comprise statistics, documentation, and reports from surveys and studies of the incidence of tuberculosis and other diseases at the county, state, and national level.

Series 3 includes records about various institutions operated, supported, and engaged by the association (1913-1976), to provide education, examination, treatment, and rehabilitation for tuberculosis patients and at-risk groups, such as malnourished or sickly children. The bulk of the records relate to the Sunnyside Sanatorium, Theodore Potter Fresh Air School, and Julia Jameson Nutrition Camp. Other institutions include free clinics, hospitals, open air schools, and other institutions in Marion County and greater Indiana.

Series 4 comprises materials related to the conferences and meetings (1910-1975), in addition to publications of various city, county, state, regional, and national organizations, which include government agencies, professional organizations, TB associations, and other institutions and businesses. The majority of the publications concern health-related or scientific topics.

Series 5 contains subject files with publications and other materials pertaining to specific topics, such as certain demographics, events, or health-related concepts.

Series 6-8 are grouped by formats or types of materials, including photographs, audiovisual materials comprising sound recordings and reel-to-reel films, and oversize items such as broadsides, maps, and periodicals.


  • 1903-1977


Conditions Governing Access

Separated materials are restricted. Contact the repository for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Administrative History

The Marion County Society for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis was founded in 1912 in Indianapolis, Indiana to combat tuberculosis (TB), a highly infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which typically attacks the lungs and sometimes other parts of the body, such as the kidneys, spine and brain. During the early 20th century, TB (often called consumption or "the white plague") was a major concern among public health officials and medical professionals. In 1910, TB was the leading cause of death in Indianapolis, which led many health care professionals and citizens to join the anti-tuberculosis movement and spurred the foundation of a local tuberculosis association.

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.

American Lung Association. "The History of Christmas Seals." Christmas Seals. Accessed June 30, 2017.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Basic TB Facts." Tuberculosis (TB). Accessed June 30, 2017.

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.

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.


73.6 Cubic Feet (126 manuscript boxes, 2 slide boxes, 9 clamshell boxes, 8 small flat boxes, 4 cubic foot boxes, 3 small oversize boxes, 6 large oversize boxes, 9 volumes, 1 map-case drawer)

Language of Materials



Arranged in the following series and subseries:

Series 1: Administrative records, 1908-1977

Subseries 1.1: General correspondence and records, 1912-1976 Subseries 1.2: Board and committee records, 1925-1976 Subseries 1.3: Annual reports and financial records, 1914-1976 Subseries 1.4: Program and staff records, 1912-1976 Subseries 1.5: Publicity and fundraising materials, 1908-1976

Series 2: Public health program materials, 1903-1977

Subseries 2.1: Health education materials, 1913-1977 Subseries 2.2: Statistics and case finding materials, 1918-1975 Subseries 2.3: Tuberculosis treatment and rehabilitation materials, 1903-1977

Series 3: Institutional records, 1913-1976

Subseries 3.1: Hospital and sanatorium records, 1913-1975 Subseries 3.2: Clinics and other institutions materials, 1918-1976 Subseries 3.3: Fresh air school and nutrition camp materials, 1914-1976

Series 4: Professional development materials, 1910-1975

Subseries 4.1: Conference and meeting materials, 1914-1975 Subseries 4.2: Other organizations publcations, 1910-1975

Series 5: Subject files, 1910-1977

Series 6: Photographs, 1913-1971

Series 7: Audiovisual materials, 1950s-1960s, undated

Series 8: Oversize materials, 1917-1976

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Francis X. Kenny on 2000/10/17.


No further additions are expected.

Related Archival Material

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, Indiana:

P059: Marion County Tuberculosis Association photograph collection

Materials relating to this collection found at other institutions in Indianapolis, Indiana:

Marion County Tuberculosis Association records, 1913-1949 (M 0910). Indiana Historical Society

American Lung Association of Indiana records, 1904-1980 (M 0384), Indiana Historical Society

Separated Materials

Employee and patient records with personally identifiable information or protected health information were removed.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2018/06/25 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2018/06/25 by Brittany Kropf.
American Lung Association of Central Indiana collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.