The leaded stained glass window pictured at the left featured a Star of David design and formed part of the decoration in the Lewisohn Chapel at the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives (NJH). The chapel was built in 1909, and the window was removed before the chapel was demolished in 1973.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, tuberculosis was the leading cause of death in the United States and Europe. By the 1880s, as Denver’s climate became known throughout the country as one favorable to curing tuberculosis, or consumption as it was also commonly known, people flocked to Colorado for their health, and the state earned the nickname “The World’s Sanatorium.” NJH, opened in 1899 by Denver’s small Jewish community, was the first to come forward to provide free aid to the hundreds and then thousands of largely indigent TB victims who soon flooded the state. Although it was formally non-sectarian, until the 1930s the majority of NJH patients were poor Eastern European immigrants, and the Lewisohn chapel was built to serve their religious needs.
In the absence of a “magic bullet” medication, the NJH adopted a typical medical program for the era that emphasized the benefits of fresh air, good nutrition, and rest. Patients spent many hours outdoors on open porches or verandahs, and this photograph depicts a nurse taking a patient’s temperature in 1907.
The stained glass window is part of the National Jewish Hospital Records, B005, in the Beck Memorial Archives.