The goal of this project is to analyze tuberculosis (TB) prevention in children in the United States throughout the early twentieth century by exploring an institution known as the preventorium. The preventorium blended features of a children's hospital, sanatorium and open-air school while endeavoring to imbue the values of an idealized middle class home life. It was designed not to treat TB, but to prevent the disease in certain indigent children considered at-risk. Using archival materials and other primary and secondary source documents, this historical project addressed the following specific aims: 1) to explore the late nineteenth and early twentieth century transnational transfer of ideas related to tuberculosis and children; 2) explicate the social, political, cultural, scientific, and economic factors that created and sustained preventoria; 3) to reconstruct the founding and day to day operations of several institutions, focusing on the experiences of nurses, physicians, children, parents, and others involved in specific preventoria; 4) to add to contemporary historical scholarship on child health care, nursing, medicine, and tuberculosis by focusing on this public health measure; 5) to consider the ways in which this early twentieth century child-saving venture enriches our knowledge of historical and contemporary issues in child health and social welfare. The preventorium is emblematic of a time when pediatric health care and child welfare meshed. Thus, it provides an ideal vantage point from which to link the history of tuberculosis to that of child health and social welfare. Moreover, the preventorium movement is also a useful vehicle to examine the way in which society's values, priorities, and biases became intertwined with ideas related to health promotion, disease prevention, risk assessment, sickness, children, and families. Children are the focus of this study not just because scientific findings shifted the bulk of antituberculosis efforts toward them during the study years, but because they have long been considered ripe for the importation of health practices and lifestyle modifications.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Health Sciences Publication Support Awards (NLM) (G13)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZLM1-HS-P (O1))
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Sim, Hua-Chuan
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Yale University
Schools of Nursing
New Haven
United States
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Connolly, Cynthia A; Gibson, Mary E (2011) The ""white plague"" and color: children, race, and tuberculosis in Virginia 1900-1935. J Pediatr Nurs 26:230-8
D'Antonio, Patricia; Connolly, Cynthia; Wall, Barbra Mann et al. (2010) Histories of nursing: The power and the possibilities. Nurs Outlook 58:207-13