Dr. Lawrason Brown, one of the founders of the T.B. Society
The T.B. Society, formally, the Saranac Lake Society for the Control of Tuberculosis, was founded by Dr. Lawrason Brown and others in 1907, in response to the growing number of tuberculosis sufferers arriving in the village looking for a cure. It was organized to educate the public with regard to needed sanitary measures, especially with regard to spitting and disinfection, to discourage the arrival of hopelessly ill destitute patients, and to maintain an information bureau that attempted to maintain a registry of sanatoria, funnel patients to appropriate local resources, and otherwise act as a clearinghouse for the cure industry. They also periodically inspected listed cottages to ensure compliance with Society standards.
Patients were met at Union Depot and taken to the Riverside Inn where they were examined to determine the extent of their disease. After a night or two at the Riverside, they would be given a list of cottages appropriate to their needs, wants, and ability to pay.
The institution continues today as the Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association. The association provides a dental health program in Saranac Lake elementary schools, a visiting nurse to the Saranac Lake area, loans of medical equipment to those in need, and financial assistance for hearing aids, etc., to those in need who may not qualify for government-aided programs. The association is also the owner of The Pines, the hillside along Pine Street opposite Pine Ridge Cemetery, which is kept in memory of Dr. Lawrason Brown.
Gallos, Philip L., Cure Cottages of Saranac Lake, Historic Saranac Lake, 1985. ISBN 0-9615159-0-2
From the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, May 16, 1959
SL TB SOCIETY NAMES OFFICERS
Mrs. Arthur Wareham was elected to the Board of Directors of The Saranac Lake Society for the Control of Tuberculosis Inc. at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Society held at the John Black Room on Friday at 8:00 p.m. Camilo Panerai, chairman of the nominating committee, announced that the following officers and directors were all re-elected to serve for another year: Dr. Edward N. Packard, president: Dr. Henry W. Leetch; vice president; Ernest H. Wood, secretary; and T. Edward Williams treasurer.
Directors: Miss Hilda Fletcher, Anthony B. Gedroiz, M.D., John N. Hayes, M.D., Alfred M. Decker, M.D., Camilo Panerai, Miss Mary R. Prescott, William H. Scopes, Francis B. Trudeau, Jr., M.D., Stevenson H. Waltien.
The Treasurer's Report was presented by T. Edward Wiliiams, Treasurer. It was accepted as presented in mimeograph form. He then presented the Budget for 1959-60 as compiled by the Budget Committee. It also was accepted and unanimously approved.
Dr. Edward N. Packard gave the president's report for year ending March 31, 1959, reporting on Research and Educational Work in the field of Tuberculosis and allied chest diseases. A percentage of Seal Sale monies help support this project each year. Income from Seal Sale in Saranac Lake in 1958 was $3963 or $537 less than 3957.
Income from the 1959 Heart Fund Appeal reported Chairman Mrs. Henry W. Leetch was $1414 or $289 more than the previous year.
The Nurse Registry established in 1907 supplied private duty nurses to the cure cottages in Saranac Lake for 52 years. This service was terminated March 31, 1959.
The following services maintained by the Society for many years will be continued as usual:
Ambulance, District Nurse, Social Service, Health Information: Registry of Private Sanatoria and emergency relief.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, August 17, 1972
Tuberculosis Society granted name change
SARANAC LAKE — New York State courts have approved a new constitution for the Saranac Lake Society for the Control of Tuberculosis. Inc., under which it will expand its medically oriented services to this village as the Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association, Inc.
It was preceded by formation of the District Nurse Association in 1897 under the chairmanship of the late Dr. Hugh M. Kinghorn. This service provided a nurse upon which physicians could call for special nursing requirements such as bed baths for individual tuberculosis patients housed in private sanatoria and nursing homes through the village.
Ten years later, in April 1907, local physicians organized the Saranac Lake Society for the Control of Tuberculosis, Inc.
…National Tuberculosis Association. The Saranac Lake Society became the first NTA member.
Financially the TB Society spent its early years living from hand to mouth. Charles Henderson gave the first donation to establish an office and served as one first executive secretary without salary. Other donations came from appreciative patients and their families.
In 1910 the first Christmas Seal Sale was launched on a national scale with participating societies keeping a major portion of the receipts for
for varying patient aides.
It kept a listing of sanatoria, cottages and rooms, their prices and a description of their services — nursing or ambulatory — for the information of local and out of town physicians. These facilities were checked and licensed annually by The Society.
It rented cure chairs, fur coats and blankets to the many who came to breathe the healing … Adirondack air.
…Applications, for Trudeau Sanatorium and Ray Brook Sanatorium were processed by the Saranac Lake TB Society. Trudeau at that time was a semi-charitable institution for those suffering comparatively mild cases of tuberculosis.
Having absorbed the District Nurse Association, the new Society developed it on demand, reaching a peak with the [?] of World War I veterans in [?] 1918
The TB Society kept a registry of nurses upon which physicians could draw for private duty nursing for individual patients, some housed in private sanatoria but many in their own homes. With the trend toward hospitalization for acute illness following World War II this service has dropped off.
The newly formed TB Society purchased Saranac Lake's first ambulance second hand from Belleview Hospital in 1907. The Horse drawn vehicle was succeeded by numerous other ambulances owned and operated by the Society until 1969 when the service was turned over to the new General Hospital of Saranac Lake. In November 1970 they gave the Hospital a new two-bed ambulance fully equipped, including oxygen and suction.
Busy as it was, the TB Society nevertheless continued a highly precarious life financially until the early 1920's when bequests from former patients began to come in.
These bequests were carefully invested in a security fund which has been the main financial support for the Society. In 1950, Miss Mary Prescott, in terminating the Prescott House Sanatorium, turned over a substantial sum to the TB Society for the use of ex-patients and patients in Saranac Lake.
Adapting to Change
With the change in the medical character of the community, the TB Society adapted its focus to medically-oriented interests as well as direct patient services. Since 1965 it has awarded scholarships to the Will Rogers Summer Research Institute. In 1989 it founded two scholarships for local students to study in [illegible]
In addition, grants to further research projects in the respiratory field have been given to Will Rogers Hospital and Trudeau Institute. The Society also gave two freezers to house Trudeau's micro-bacterial collection.
When the new General Hospital was built, the TB Society pledged the oxygen and suction equipment. Since the hospital's opening, the Society has given respiratory and heart equipment and has undertaken the expense for nearly 20 staff nurses to attend special cardiac and respiratory workshops.
Meanwhile, on the national scene, the decline in active tuberculosis brought the closing of many small societies and an NTA decision in the mid 1960s[?], to amalgamate the remaining societies into large districts.
Saranac Lake was asked to join the Seaway District and, in turn, asked that in consideration of its history it be allowed to retain its identity and keep its membership in the NTA. The request was denied. Since absorption into the Seaway District would mean transfer of the now considerable funds given specifically for work in Saranac Lake into the treasury of a four country district based at Ogdensburg, the local Society regretfully allowed itself to be separated from NTA. The main indication of this has been the required cessation of the sale of Christmas Seals by the local TB Society.
Once separated from the NTA, which laid down certain regulations for member societies, the late Anthony Durell, then president of the Saranac Lake TB Society, appointed Dr. Richard Gould chairman of a committee to revise the local constitution. Dr. Gould was assisted by Dr. Verne Hospelhorn, Mrs. Arthur Wareham and Irving Edelberg, the Society's attorney.
The new constitution, which has no mention of tuberculosis but is otherwise based on the constitution which carried forward service to the sick for so many decades, was approved by the membership in December 1970. Early the following year it was submitted to New York State for approval as a charitable organization to succeed the Society for the Control of Tuberculosis under the new name, Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association Inc.
Approval was granted, including operation under the new name this year.
Dr. Richard Gould is president of the VHA. Other officers are Dr. John Bourke. vice-president; T. Edward Williams, treasurer; and Mrs. W. Warriner Woodruff, secretary.
In addition, the 15-member Board of Directors includes Chester Beeman, Dr. Lawrence Early, Dr. Verne Hospelhorn, Mrs. Hugh M. Kinghorn, Wilfred MacNeill, Dr. David Merkel, Mrs. Dwight Milne, Dr. Joseph Rosenstien, William Sweeney, Mrs. Gray Twombley and Mrs. Arthur Wareham.
Saranac Lake Society for the Control of TuberculosisFrom a brochure published by the Society, undated [after 1907, in the text; before 1912, when C. R. Henderson Jr. died]
|President||E. L. Trudeau, M.D.|
|Secretary and Treasurer||C. R. Henderson, Jr.|
|Executive Secretary and Mgr. Bureau of Information||F. L. Fairchild|
Board of Trustees– John Harding, W. C. Leonard.
Board of Trade– Kenneth W. Goldthwaite, A. K. Botsford.
Board of Education– J. C. Russell, M.D., Eugene DeLaMater.
Board of Health– C. C. Trembley, M.D., G. M. Abbott, M. D.
Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium – Lawrason Brown, M.D., Miss deLongue.
Reception Hospital– E. R. Baldwin, M.D., Miss Sophie M. Hoerner.
District Nursing Committee– H. M. Kinghorn, M.D., ["George V. W. Duryee
Members-at-Large– J. L. Nichols, M.D., C. W. Park, Mrs. L. L. Wheeler, Mrs. M. E. Bogie, A. Fortune, Jr.
Saranac Lake Society for the Control of Tuberculosis
This Society was organized April 12th, 1907, under the name of the Anti-Tuberculosis Society, but owing to frequent misunderstandings of this title it was recently changed to the present one.
The officers elected at the first meeting were, President, Dr. E. L. Trudeau; Vice-President, John Carrier; and Secretary and Treasurer, C. R. Henderson, Jr. These officers, together with two persons appointed by each of the following bodies: The Board of Trade, the Board of Health, the Board of Trustees, the Board of Education, the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium, the Reception Hospital, the District Nursing Committee, and five individuals elected at the annual meeting, constitute the Executive Committee. This Committee meets about once a month and manages the affairs of the Society.
The first outside work of importance undertaken was the appointment of a Committee from the Society, with Dr. Trudeau as chairman, which appeared before the Village Board of Trustees and asked them to provide funds for a Sanitary Inspector (under the control of the Board of Health) whose duties should be to disinfect all rooms occupied by patients , and see to the enforcement of the sanitary laws. After some little discussion four hundred dollars was appropriated for this purpose, and hereafter the Board of Health will be able not only to make good laws, but to enforce them.
In July Dr. Trembley, the newly appointed Health Officer, who succeeded Dr. McClellan, personally arrested and brought before the Justice of the Peace two men whom he had caught expectorating in the village street. The offenders were fined, and the action undoubtedly will have a good effect in deterring people in the future from this dangerous habit. While these arrests were done entirely on Dr. Trembley’s initiative, the Society feels that it deserves some of the credit.
In order to help educate the people in regard to the proper treatment of the tuberculosis problem, and also to advertise the aims of the Society, a Public Mass Meeting was held in the Town Hall on July 1st. Dr. Trudeau presided and opened the meeting with a short address on the aims of the Society: he said that these might be briefly summed up “In assurance of protection for the well and the proper care of the sick.” He was followed by Dr. Lawrason Brown, who spoke on the “Accomplishments of other Anti-Tuberculosis Societies.” Five minute papers were also read by Mr. Duryee (the President of the Board of Trade), Dr. Baldwin, Dr. Trembley, and Rev. John B. Kelly. About two hundred people were present, many new members were enrolled, and the meeting was a distinct success. Another meeting will be held September 17th, the night before the meeting of the State Medical Society, to show the Health Officers from outside what has been done to make Saranac Lake a cleaner and healthier town.
The Society next turned its attention towards the selection of a good man to manage the Bureau of Information. After a somewhat prolonged search, justified by the importance of securing the right man for the position, Mr. F. L. Fairchild was at last engaged and it is very doubtful whether a better man could have been found anywhere. Mr. Fairchild has lived in Saranac Lake for the greater part of four years, and is thoroughly conversant with the conditions prevailing here. His office is at present in the Town Hall, 30 Main Street, and his post office address is Box 562, Saranac Lake, N. Y. All applicants for admission to the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium have to apply directly to him, and if he finds them eligible for examination, he gives them a card to one of the examining physicians of this institution.
Mr. Fairchild will also furnish, free of charge, reliable and impartial information concerning the conditions and cost of living in Saranac Lake. To do this properly he will, of course, have to keep in touch with all the boarding houses and hotels and be fully informed as regards their charges, facilities, etc.
Inasmuch as the Bureau will bring all this information within easy reach of the newcomers, it ought to be of great and lasting benefit to the hotel and boarding house interests, while it can easily be seen how much smoother it will make the path of the newcomer himself.
The Manager will also be conversant with the conditions under which admission can be gained to the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium, the Reception Hospital, the State Hospital for Incipient Tuberculosis at Ray Brook, Sanatorium Gabriels at Gabriels, N. Y., and Stony Wold Sanatorium at Kushaqua, and will gladly explain all that is to be known about these institutions to applicants.
He will also investigate all needy cases brought to his notice and provide temporary aid or nursing if necessary. In this connection the system of volunteer visitors, who take an active interest in the patients, and in addition to their visits provide them with necessities, books, etc., will be tried.
Among his other duties will be the keeping of a list of all trained nurses who are members of the Society, and accurate data as to their whereabouts, whether they are engaged or not, etc., which will undoubtedly be a benefit to the doctors as well, of course, as to the nurses.
The Society has also combined with the District Nursing Association, and the District Nurse will have her headquarters in the office where she can be reached by telephone at any time.
The membership of the Society is at present two hundred and thirty-eight and it is hoped before long to increase this to three hundred.
It is also earnestly hoped that all members will make frequent use of the Bureau. In order to ensure its success it must be used. The citizens of Saranac Lake should realize that this is really an organization, a civic club, ton ensure their protection, to aid in the enforcement of their laws, and to advertise their village. With the hearty co-operation of everyone, its usefulness, we hope, will be unlimited.
List of Members
Top and bottom of T.B. Society letterhead, apparently marked up for changes. Undated. Courtesy of Mary Hotaling.