Some of the main research that I have been doing lately pertains to Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau and the institution he created in Saranac Lake, NY: The Trudeau Sanitarium for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. My graduate research focuses on the transmission of Romantic ideology into 19th century American culture through the conduits of literature, art and landscape design. The Trudeau Sanitarium functions as a culmination of these ideas as represented on the physical landscape – a cultural institution created as a place of healing, immersed within the natural world, and drawing from the picturesque beauty of nature as a source of rejuvenation and renewal.
If anyone is interested in reading more about Trudeau and his wilderness sanitarium, check out his autobiography, available in full on GoogleBooks here. It is a fascinating read, and is exemplary of many of the Romantic ideas about the natural landscape that are essential to my research. One quote by Trudeau struck me as particularly inspiring. He wrote,
“Here the mountains, covered with an unbroken forest, rose so abruptly from the river, and the sweep of the valley at their base was so extended and picturesque, that the view had always made a deep impression upon me. Many a beautiful afternoon, for the first four winters after I came to Saranac Lake, I had sat for hours alone while hunting, facing the ever-changing phases of light and shade on the imposing mountain panorama at my feet, and dreamed of the dreams of youth; dreamed of life and death… and yearned for a closer contact with the Great Spirit who planned it all, and for light on the hidden meaning of our troublous existence. The grandeur and peace of it had ever brought refreshment to my perplexed spirit.” – Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau
You can also read more about my visit to the Trudeau Sanitarium here.