The development of the Adirondack Park as a healing territory was fed by the romanticization of the region as a purifying and natural place. This association bolstered the advancement of the Park as a location for sanatoriums and other medical institutions.

Organization of this Site

This site provides an insight into the history of health and the treatment of tuberculosis in the Adirondacks by drawing from a diverse pool of first and secondary sources. The Romanticism of Nature and Tuberculosis offers a sort of preface for this analysis. It indeed displays the substantial connection between Nature and spirituality, relying mainly on Thoreau’s writings. More precisely, the Romanticized Perception of the Adirondacks describes how the Adirondacks were viewed as a haven of health, and the seminal literature that supported this perception of the park. It is important to delve into this aspect of the Adirondacks, as the reputation of the region as healing was an important factor in the development of treatment facilities and health infrastructure.
Furthermore, the Idealizing Tuberculosis page proposes very interesting analysis of the common representations of tuberculosis throughout the late nineteenth-early twentieth century. Susan Sontag’s work indeed demonstrates how this disease was idealized and aestheticized. Then, the Treatment Disillusionment page offers nuances to this romanticized perception of being cured from tuberculosis in the Adirondacks. Drawing from Adelaide Crapsey’s poems, we demonstrate the duality of tuberculosis treatments. More than being health tours, those stays in sanatoriums or camps were often characterized by an intense loneliness and fear of death.

On the Establishing Sanatoriums page you will find a discussion of how Edward Livingston Trudeau established the first sanatorium in the Adirondacks. At his Adirondack Cottage Sanatorium, Trudeau pioneered the sanatorium treatment method, and helped hundreds of tuberculosis patients recover. This page also offers an overview of the different options that tuberculosis patients had for treatment during the late 18th to early 20th century, and how these private and public treatment institutions developed.The Developing Treatment page delves into the critical scientific progress that occurred in parallel with tuberculosis treatment, and the main methods that sanatoriums employed to treat their patients, including rest, fresh air, and nutritious meals.