Certificate Signed by Pres. Theodore Roosevelt Honoring CF&I Physicians & Surgeons, 1908
Artifact Is: Photograph
Located at: Steelworks Center of the West
Artifact is Significant to: Nation
This signed certificate by President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt praises the Colorado Fuel and iron Company (CF&I) physicians and surgeons for their work towards preventing and eradicating tuberculosis in Colorado at the annual International Council on Tuberculosis conference in 1908. The certificate is printed on linen and is signed by the President and members of the committee that sponsored the conference. This certificate was displayed at the company’s Minnequa Hospital in Pueblo as an acknowledgment of medical staff’s work.
Why Is This Artifact Significant?
Industrial work is extremely dangerous, so much so that CF&I maintained its own medical department treating employee illnesses and injuries and those of their families. With the close living quarters and thousands of dependent employees on the payroll, a contagious disease could be devastating to an entire department or small town. Because of this reason, CF&I’s physicians and staff took great lengths to conduct medical research in the prevention of contagious and preventable diseases. With acknowledgement from the President of the United States of their efforts, medical staff worked harder towards preventing and eradicating the disease in Colorado.
How Does The Artifact Relate To Colorado History?
Tuberculosis, an infectious disease that affects the lungs, was one of the most urgent health risks of the 20th century. Victims experience fever, weight loss, coughing, loss of appetite and in extreme cases, death. There was no known cure in the early 20th century, but doctors had come to recognize that fresh air, higher elevations, and low humidity, such as that found in Colorado, could change the course of the disease and lessen symptoms. CF&I medical staff worked to educate the public about disease prevention, specifically targeting company schools which taught children about the benefits of good hygiene and exercise.