Monday, September 18, 2006

Cross of Lorraine and the Campus Services Building

Have you ever noticed the large double-barred cross on the side of the Campus Services Building here on the Marquam Hill campus? (If you haven't, check out this photograph in the Digital Resources Library for an idea of what it looks like). Many of you may recognize this cross as the symbol of the American Lung Association. What many have forgotten is that the Campus Services Building was originally the University-State Tuberculosis Hospital, erected in 1939.

How did the Cross of Lorraine become associated with the fight against tuberculosis? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has the answer on its website, in a TB Notes Newsletter from 2000:

"In 1902 at the first International Conference on Tuberculosis held in Paris, Dr. Gilbert Sersiron suggested the adoption of the Cross of Lorraine, used by the Knights of the First Crusade, as the symbol of a new movement, a crusade for good health against sickness and death, and against TB. The double-barred cross was adopted as the international symbol for the fight against TB. This symbol was later adopted in 1904 in the United States by the forerunner of the American Lung Association."

The TV program History Detectives on OPB recently aired a show featuring a Harley-Davidson motorcycle painted with the Cross of Lorraine. Turns out that bike was used to promote anti-tuberculosis campaigns in rural Wisconsin circa World War I. To get the complete transcript of that show, you can download this PDF.

For more information on the battle against TB in the state of Oregon, check out the website which accompanied our exhibit on the history of the Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital in Salem.

Note: I am indebted to Friday Valentine, Digital Resources Librarian, OHSU Library, for suggesting today's topic.

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