News for Friday, May 6, 2016
Chasing the Cure in New Mexico: Tuberculosis and the Quest for Health
LATEST: Nancy Owen Lewis’s Chasing the Cure in New Mexico featured in May 6 edition of Pasatiempo.
SAR scholar in residence, Nancy Owen Lewis, has completed her book Chasing the Cure in New Mexico: Tuberculosis and the Quest for Health, which was recently published by the Museum of New Mexico Press. It is the first book-length account of the thousands of health seekers who journeyed to New Mexico from 1870 to 1940 seeking a cure for tuberculosis, the leading killer in the US at that time. By 1920, the health seekers made up an estimated 10 percent of the state’s population. The influx of “lungers” as they were called—doctors, lawyers, writers, artists, and business leaders—would play a critical role in the state’s growth and in its struggle for statehood. The movement also spawned an entire industry, which boosted the economy considerably. Nearly sixty sanatoriums were established around the state, laying the groundwork for New Mexico’s current health-care system.
Owen Lewis has been a scholar in residence at the School for Advanced Research since 2011. Prior to that, she was director of scholar programs at the School for thirteen years. She is also co-author of A Peculiar Alchemy: A Centennial History of SAR (SAR Press 2007), which was named Best Book in History at the 2008 New Mexico Book Awards.