February 2022 First Wednesday Talk – The Arequipa Tuberculosis Sanatorium of Fairfax: a history and a family story, with Lynn Downey
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As San Francisco recovered from the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906, dust and ash filled the city’s stuffy factories, stores, and classrooms. Dr. Philip King Brown noticed rising tuberculosis rates among the women who worked there, and he knew there were few places where they could get affordable treatment. In 1911, with the help of wealthy society women and his wife, Helen, a protégé of philanthropist Phoebe Apperson Hearst, Brown opened the Arequipa Sanatorium in Fairfax. Downey tells this story in her book, Arequipa Sanatorium: Life in California’s Lung Resort for Women, and in her illustrated talk . Based on sanatorium records and interviews she conducted with her own grandmother and other former patients, she brings to life this little-known slice of Marin County history.
Lynn Downey is a historian and author, and a Marin County native. Her books have won the Will Rogers Medallion and New Mexico-Arizona book awards, and her 2019 book, Arequipa Sanatorium: Life in California’s Lung Resort for Women won the WILLA Literary Award from Women Writing the West. She is also a consulting archivist, and the former company historian for Levi Strauss & Co.