Health Seekers of Southern California 1870–1900
Written by: John E. Baur
Category: Western History
Format: Paperback, 248 pages, 6 x 9 inches
Release Date: 2009-12-15
About this Book
The nineteenth-century legend that Southern California’s sunny climate could cure tuberculosis, asthma, rheumatism, and a host of other diseases triggered a rush of health seekers to the region. By the end of the century, these health seekers from the east had inflated land values, caused building booms, inaugurated new types of businesses, and founded such towns as Pasadena, Riverside, and Palm Springs.
Baur investigates this migration’s effect on the settlement and development of Southern California, focusing on boosterism, resort advertising, medicine and pseudomedicine, and sanitariums. When his study of the region’s health-resort industry was originally published in 1959, he was hailed as the Herodotus of the health movement of Southern California.
A new introductory essay by Robert G. Frank Jr., “Tuberculosis and Medicine in the Era of Health Seekers,” traces the development of medical views of tuberculosis over the last two decades of the nineteenth century. What was thought to be a constitutional disease aggravated by lifestyle and environment came to be understood as an infectious disease. Communities that had previously extended a warm welcome to health seekers now sought to isolate them, and health migration to Southern California became an interlude of the past.
About the Author
John E. Baur was a professor of history at California State University, Northridge. Robert G. Frank Jr. is Professor of Medical History and History at the David E Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA.
From reviews of the original edition:
“Baur shows how health resorts proliferated in the Los Angeles–San Diego area and how their clientele, largely composed of those suffering from tuberculosis, permanently altered the general character of the region.”—Pacific Historical Review
“Baur’s work follows several fascinating byways, to mineral springs and health colonies, into medical and pseudo-medical practices, coming to the conclusion that this great immigration of the fin de siècle had a lasting social effect on the region.”