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American Lung Association of Virginia (ALAV) collection

Identifier: MS-3

Scope and Contents

The ALAV Collection contains personal and official correspondence, financial and legal papers, minute books, organizational and scientific reports, educational publicity, photographs, and artifacts. The ALAV Collection contains exhaustive information on the administrative concerns, educational and fund-raising activities, local level activities and regional offices, and the day-to-day operations of Virginia's key agent in the control and prevention of respiratory diseases. The materials in the ALAV Collection document the growth of the organization, as well as the input of a number of notable Virginians, from the early decades of the twentieth century. The ALAV Collection contains materials of use to researchers interested in medical history, epidemiology, respiratory diseases, and the growth of state and national organizations dedicated to public health.


  • Creation: 1907 - 2004

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply to some content.

Biographical / Historical Information

The American Lung Association (ALA) is the oldest voluntary public health agency in the United States. The original name of the ALA was the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis (NASPT), formed in 1904 to combat the deadliest disease of the time. The name was changed to the National Tuberculosis Association (NTA) in 1918, and finally, with the decline of TB and the rise of other serious lung diseases, to the American Lung Association (ALA) in 1973. The American Lung Association of Virginia (ALAV) has been similarly renamed since its formation in 1909 as the Virginia Anti-Tuberculosis Association. Today, both the national and state associations are dedicated to the prevention, cure, and control of all lung diseases.

The American Lung Association is perhaps best known as "The Christmas Seal People." Since 1907, the Christmas Seal Campaign has raised many millions of dollars toward the fight against lung disease. In 1915, the NASPT launched the Modern Health Crusade, originally to involve children in the Christmas Seal Campaign. Any child who sold ten or more Seals was given a "Crusader certificate of enrollment" on which was printed a list of health rules such as "keep windows open" and "get a long night's sleep." Children who complied with these standards were "promoted" from squire to knight, then to knight banneret, and finally to knight of the round table. By 1919 there were three million "crusaders" in the United States. Two years later, the National Education Association recommended the adoption of a Crusade-like health education system in every elementary school in the country.

The ALAV Collection contains extensive information on the tuberculosis sanatoriums established in Virginia. When the NASPT formed in 1904, there were approximately one hundred sanatoriums in the United States; by 1910, there were nearly four hundred. One of the many sanatoriums built during this period was the Catawba Sanatorium near Roanoke, the first sanatorium in the state of Virginia. In 1908, Captain William Washington Baker (1844-1927), a member of the Virginia General Assembly, introduced a bill to reorganize the State Board of Health. The "Baker Bill" appropriated $20,000 "for the establishment and maintenance of a suitable sanatorium for consumptives." Baker had lost four of his six children to tuberculosis. For his pioneering efforts, he is justly called "the father of Catawba Sanatorium." Baker was also instrumental in the formation of the Virginia Anti-Tuberculosis Association (now the ALAV) in October 1909.

In 1918, the State Board of Health and the Negro Organization Society founded Piedmont Sanatorium as a rest home for African-Americans. Before its establishment, the only treatment facilities for African- Americans were the Central State Hospital for Mental Diseases and the State Penitentiary. Miss Agnes D. Randolph, Director of the Educational Department of the State Board of Health, requested in 1916 an appropriation from the General Assembly to build the sanatorium and purchase three hundred acres of land near Burkeville. The first building at the site was named in her honor.

Blue Ridge Sanatorium opened in April of 1920. The close proximity of the University of Virginia Medical School was a major factor in the government's selection of the Charlottesville area as the site for the new facility. The State Board of Health and the University agreed that a special course in TB would be developed for third and fourth year medical students, to be taught by the Medical Director of Blue Ridge Sanatorium and his staff. The city of Charlottesville donated $15,000 for the building project and promised free water from the city supply for five years.

An online exhibit created by the Historical Collections and Services staff of The Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia recounts the origin and early history of the ALA. All of the materials featured in the Web exhibit are from the Library's ALAV Collection in Historical Collections and Services. Visit the web exhibit here:


283.4 Linear Feet

Acquisition Information

The American Lung Association of Virginia (ALAV) donated the organization's papers to the University of Virginia Health Sciences Library in 1990 and 1991, under the auspices of then ALAV Executive Director, Dr. Carl Booberg. Another large donation from the ALAV was made in 2009.

Physical Description

The extensive collection consists of 424 boxes, 50 are oversized folio boxes.

A Guide to the American Lung Association of Virginia (ALAV) Collection
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
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The web version of the finding aid was funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library Repository

Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
1300 Jefferson Park Avenue
P.O. Box 800722
Charlottesville Virginia 22908-0722 United States