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Hope, A Red Cross Seal Story                                          
Description: When a Red Cross worker asks a prominent small-town banker for a donation to help fight tuberculosis the banker scoffs, saying that TB is a disease of poor people in the cities, not the kind of people you find in small towns. It's not long before he finds out just how wrong he is.
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Clip #: SF-2C
Length: 16:23
Year: 1912
Color: B/W
Sound: Silent
Library: TFA Network
Decade: 1910s
Subject: Medicine
Original: 35mm
When the film was made in 1912, tuberculosis was still the leading cause of death in the United States, as it had been throughout most of the nineteenth century. Known familiarly as consumption, for the wasting weight loss that followed initial bouts of coughing, the frightening disease was finally traced in 1882 to the tubercle bacillus. Although the death rate from TB had been declining even before then, urbanization and workplace changes at the start of the twentieth century conspired to make the disease more of a social problem. Once TB was identified as a bacterial contagion, sweatshops and urban tenements crowded with new immigrants were recognized as breeding grounds, and polluting smoke from factories was understood as increasing susceptibility. The popular thought was that tuberculosis was a “city disease”—and that the more affluent living in small towns needn’t worry overmuch about it.

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