I recently became aware that there were young
children sent to Cresson sanatorium even thought they did not have TB. In fact, even thought Cresson once had more
than 250 children as patients, only a few of them were active cases of TB. For the majority, the hospital served as a preventorium
(meaning sanatorium care to prevent TB). Most of these children had been exposed to the disease, usually in their own homes,
and were therefore potential victims. Under a regimen which included rest, good food, fresh air and sunshine the children
were built up to resist TB. But the selection criteria could be very loose and even children who were just considered undernourished
or sickly were sent to Cresson as well. For some, it might seem like a summer camp lasting only 2 or 3 months. But for others
it could be years. The first preventorium opened in 1909 in Lakewood, NJ. with this type of care continuing
right up to 1950.
problem is that many of these children have no understanding even now as adults as to why they had to leave their families
and go to Cresson. It's my hope that those who underwent preventorium care may be able to gain some understanding of the
process and to take some comfort in knowing that they were admitted to Cresson with their best welfare in mind.
The Pa State Archives have provided
photos of children at the Cresson Preventorium, which can be seen by clicking on " Pa Archives 1".
CRESSON CHILDRENS SONG
"Spunk" was a monthly magazine published by the Pennsylvania State Tuberculosis Sanatoria.
The following poem/song was written by a young patient at Cresson circa 1916.
C is for the Cure that makes us better;
R is for the Rules we must obey;
E is for the
Eats which fill our stomachs;
SS are for the SongS learned in our play;
O is for the Outlook from our windows;
N is for the Nurses sweet and gay-
Put them together they spell Cresson,
Where we children dearly love to stay.
M.B. , age 13, one of the Kiddies.
(From a 1911 Article)
the little monthly periodical published by the patients of the Sanatorium has proved a valuable
agency in keeping up the spirits and aiding the recovery of the patients. A State Senator in communication to the editor truthfully says: "It is comparatively easy to do one's duly when
the eyes of many are upon us— many frequently act fearing they would otherwise be thought cowards, but to do a brave
thing when few know of the sacrifice is really greatness and the
prompting to do it, and the act of doing it are the property
of the soul." It is an ably edited journal, with many interesting contributors and
is a benefit alike to
those who write and those who read.
An internet search on the word preventorium
reveals many newspaper articles, medical journal papers and books on the subject. Several good examples are shown
on the "Favorite Links" page.