Nancy Owen Lewis

Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar


Selling Health in New Mexico: Evidence of Disease in the Land of the Well

Nancy Owen LewisNancy Owen Lewis2012 Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer ScholarNancy Owen Lewis2012 Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar

Thousands of health seekers flocked to New Mexico from 1880 through 1940, seeking a cure for tuberculosis. Officials promoted New Mexico’s healthful climate, and the legislature provided tax breaks for sanatorium construction. The “lungers,” as they were called, played a critical role in New Mexico’s struggle for statehood and its subsequent development. New Mexico’s emphasis on its healing climate and healthy people, however, may have obscured its real health problems. In addition, it brought numerous indigent consumptives to a territory unable to address the health needs of its own people. Unlike previous studies, which have focused on contributions of the monied health seekers and the sanatorium experience, this project examines the unintended consequences of this movement—the indigent problem and threat of disease among native Hispanos and Indians—as part of a book manuscript titled Chasing the Cure in New Mexico: Tuberculosis and the Quest for Health.

Affiliation at time of award:
Research Associate, School for Advanced Research

Sponsored by Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Foundation

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