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DATE: 1926

LENGTH: 48 min

CATEGORY: Research & Documentation, Silent, Black & White

PRODUCER/PUBLISHER: Harry A. Wilmer and Lois Parker


In this blurry film with a homemade feel, the camera focuses on seemingly healthy children at a tuberculosis sanatorium near Mont Alto, Pennsylvania in the 1920s. They practice synchronized sunbathing, flipping from stomachs to backs as one. They line up for fresh milk, throw snowballs, and box one another vigorously (girls, too). Such therapies were thought to prevent these children—who were mostly poor and often from immigrant families living in crowded, unhygienic conditions—from contracting tuberculosis. While the sanatorium treated adults who were already ill, the “preventorium” role of the place was more important to the filmmakers, as were the ever-present TB nurses, many drawn from the recovered adult population and trained only to work at sanatoria…Read The Essay

Supplementary Materials

Reminiscences of TB Sanitorium and Preventorium

The Library’s holdings also include a narrated version of the film created in 1988. A former resident, Walter Zeigler, watched the footage and described his time at South Mountain as he remembered it. Sarah Richards, The National Library of Medicine film curator at the time, asked questions along the way.

View the 1988 narrated version

Stills from TB Sanitorium [sic] and Preventorium

From the NLM Prints & Photographs Collection

Digitized Films on Tuberculosis at the National Library of Medicine

A films still of the title frame for Save A Day.Explore films on tuberculosis in the NLM Digital Collections

Tuberculosis Films on Circulating Now

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