Friday, February 28, 2014
Francis Marion Pottenger: Founder of the Pottenger Sanatorium
The climate of Southern California was said to be ideal for those who suffered from tuberculosis, so when Francis Marion Pottenger’s young wife was stricken with the disease, Dr. Pottenger, a recent graduate of medical school, moved with her to California. Despite his tireless care, constant observation, and continued study of all published medical articles about tuberculosis, her condition worsened. Eventually, the couple returned to their native Ohio where Carrie (Burtner) Pottenger died in 1898.
The loss of his wife to what was considered at that time to be an essentially hopeless disease had a tremendous impact on Dr. Pottenger. He soon became a leader in the study of tuberculosis, and challenged previously accepted methods of treatment, such as exercise, in favor of rest. In 1902, he was on the committee that founded the Southern California Anti-Tuberculosis League, later the California Tuberculosis Association, and in 1903, he refuted a bill that would have excluded tuberculosis patients from the state, arguing that those seeking health in California should be welcomed. That same year, he founded the Pottenger Sanatorium in Monrovia, California.
If you would like to learn more about Francis Marion Pottenger and the Pottenger Sanatorium, the Monrovia Public Library has a collection of local history books that are available for library use.
Source: “Pottenger, Francis Marion, M.D.,” Encyclopedia of Biography; folder: “Pottenger Family,” vertical files; Heritage Room, Monrovia Public Library, Monrovia, California.