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Porch Ward: 1919

Porch Ward: 1919

        "We'll have you out of here in no time, one way or another!"

Washington, D.C., 1919. "Children's Hospital." One of the daybed pavilions characteristic of the contemporary vogue for "fresh air" treatment of tuberculosis. National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Fresh Air? What's that?

Washington, DC, has maybe 5 days a year of what we could call "fresh air." The rest of the time, locals in the time before air conditioning must breathe a damp, musty soup full of mold spores (including species found nowhere else). Note the ones that have settled on the negative. It's hard to imagine a worse environment for children suffering from TB than the "Great Outdoors" in that city.

My mother, who came there in 1942 to work for one of the agencies created to deal with World War II, didn't last through her first summer -- the environment triggered her hay fever to such an extent she couldn't stand it and had to return home.

Medical treatment has fortunately moved on since then.

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