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Tuberculosis has shaped history, art, and architecture — and it’s still here today

(Original Caption) Meriden, Connecticut: Medical science, as represented by Undercliff, the Meriden State Tuberculosis Sanatorium, is doing much wonderful work in aiding unfortunate youngsters to defeat the ravages of tuberculosis, the white plague. At Undercliff, scores of children under sixteen years of age are taking the sunlight, fresh air and rest cure which science has determined as the best means of combatting the dreaded illness. Dr. Cole B. Gibson, superintendent, is constantly on the job supervising the treatment of the youngsters, who bathe their bodies in sun rays to build up resistance against the illness. By a process of gradual exposure during the summer and fall, the children scantly clothed are able to dissport without discomfort out of doors in any weather. In mid winter they lay their blankets on the snow covered ground and take their regular sunbath. These pictu
Bettmann Archive
A historic photo from the Meriden State Tuberculosis Sanatorium, showing tuberculosis patients taking a “sunlight, fresh air and rest cure” in the winter.

Tuberculosis has been around for thousands of years, and it still infects millions per year.

This hour, we look back at how tuberculosis has shaped history and how it is still impacting health today.

Plus, a look at the history of tuberculosis treatment, how tuberculosis has shaped modern architecture, and the impact of tuberculosis on art and artists.


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Colin McEnroe, Jonathan McNicol, and Cat Pastor contributed to this show, which originally aired September 1, 2022.

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Lily is the senior producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show'. She first worked at Connecticut Public as an intern, in 2014. She has previously worked for WBUR, KUNC, and as a producer for the New England News Collaborative's weekly show 'Next.'
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