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Arts & Culture

MN Reads: "The Girl in Building C" by Mary Krugerud


We don't hear a lot about tuberculosis today.

But at the turn of the 20th century, tuberculosis (also known as TB or consumption) was the leading cause of death in the US.

Of course, you didn't hear much about it then, either, because of the stigma attached to the disease.

Mary Krugerud's book is a fascinating look at why and how we stigmatize (and sometimes actually quarantine) sufferers of certain illnesses, how the epidemic coincided with waves of immigrants coming to the United States and the repercussions as a result, and even how medical testing (probably judged unethical by today's standards) put Minnesota way ahead of the curve when it came to eradicating the disease in the US.

Mary's previous book is titled Interrupted Lives: The History of Tuberculosis in Minnesota and Glenn Lake Sanitorium  (published by North Star Press of St. Cloud). She also maintains a website about Minnesota's tuberculosis sanitoriums and has a page on Duluth's Nopeming Tuberculosis Sanitorium.

The Girl in Building C: The True Story of a Teenage Tuberculosis Patient is published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

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