Battle Creek, Michigan: 1889. Notebook. This leather wallet-like diary measures 3¼“ x 6” and contains over 180 pages of daily entries, usually two per page. Sanborn’s writing is legible. The binding is sound, and the cover and pages are clean with light wear. Sanborn has written her name on the front free endpaper: “C. F. Sanborn. / Sanitarium. / Battle Creek, / Dec. 25. Mich.” In nice shape.
The Sanitarium known colloquially as The San, combined aspects of a European spa, a hydrotherapy institution, a hospital, and an expensive resort. In 1876, after becoming director of the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital known as the Western Health Reform Institute, John Harvey Kellogg (assisted by his brother and future cereal tycoon, W. K. Kellogg) renamed the facility the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Although Kellogg focused his efforts on attracting the wealthy and famous, he also treated the poor who could not afford other hospitals, as well as staff members.
Kellogg's treatments were based on his theory of "biologic living" tempered by Adventist principles and focused on hydrotherapy (baths and water-treatments of all kinds, including hot, cold, and yogurt enemas) supplemented by light (especially solar), heat, and electric treatments. Additionally, physical exercise, open-air exposure, and prescriptive diets (like toasted wheat and corn flakes invented by W. K.) were incorporated. The most bizarre treatments, tortuous actually, were reserved for men, women, and children that Kellogg believed needed to be cured of masturbation. (None are mentioned in this diary.)
A two-year nursing school was an integral part of the huge sanitarium complex, and, for the most part, students cared for patients during the day and attended classes at night.
In this diary, Sanborn writes about attending classes and lectures as well as caring for patients, e.g., wheeling chairs, changing rooms, giving baths (Russian, Turkish, Electric, etc.), providing electricity treatments, and more. However, the overarching theme is her exhaustion from endless work and study. Some of Sanborn’s entries include:
Jan 4. “Am very tired tonight. Fannie’s had a fever tonight I took her over to the bath room & treated her and put her to bed. Am afraid she is going to be sick.”
Jan 12 – “Mrs. Clark went out in her chair for the first time. We had an examination tonight on diseases of children. . ..”
Feb 2 – “Dr. A. lectured today on surgical nursing. . ..” Feb 8 – “We had two operations this afternoon. I have Mrs. Stephenson to nurse. Am very tired. Mrs. C is doing nicely. . ..”
Mar 2 – “I treated my patients this forenoon. I [then] went to school & . . . Mrs. Foy . . . sent me to nurse Mr. W. Kellogg’s little boy who has pneumonia.” April 1 – “Mrs. B. completely electrified me this eve and I am going to bed. . ..”
Apr 23 – “I gave the electric bathes today. . ..”
May 9 – “Attended a lecture in the gymnasium sub. “Sunshine” and a grand and sublime talk it was. . ..”
Jun 6– “I gave 4 Turkish baths . . . and when I was done, I gave electricity this P.M.”
Aug 1 – “I listened to Mr. Ford (a patient) relate his experience in Libby prison (as a Union POW during the Civil War) this eve. . ..”
Aug 6 – “I gave electricity this Am and mass[ages] this pm."
Aug 31 – “I was on duty all day in the bath room was very busy.”
Oct 6 – “I was busy with Mrs B. all night. She suffered all night. I staid with her all day and about done up this eve. She had morphine this eve to make her sleep.”
Oct 29 – “Mrs B. required visit to The San was very busy all day.” Oct 31 – “Poor little Keith Kellogg (W. K. Kellogg’s son) died with Diphtheria this P.M.”.
Very good. Item #009537
An enlightening first-hand account of life at J. H. Kellogg’s famous Battlecreek Sanitarium by a very busy nursing student.