Open Window TB

Do you know of someone who was a patient or employee at a tuberculosis sanatorium? Perhaps a parent, grandparent or aunt? Have you ever wondered what life was like at a TB sanatorium?

Pat Nelson lived on the dairy farm of the Lake Julia Tuberculosis Sanatorium when she was a child. She returned to her childhood home on several occasions to gather material for her book Open Window TB: the Lake Julia TB Sanatorium, a Community Created by Tuberculosis. Nelson interviewed former patients, employees, and the doctor’s family; visited the old sanatorium where her parents once worked; and did fact-finding at state and local history centers, relentlessly searching for information.

Now, when you read Open Window, you can get a good idea of the day-to day-life at a sanatorium plus the victories and the struggles of being a patient or employee. The 135 photos in the book make it especially interesting.

The sanatorium in Nelson’s Open Window was located in northern Minnesota, and during its first years of operation, there was no glass in the windows, which was for the purpose of allowing bitterly cold fresh air to make breathing easier. Imagine waking to snow and ice on your blankets, and, even worse, to have to do so when sick!

Most TB sanatoriums had a lot in common, so even if you know of a relative or friend who was a patient or employee at a different sanatorium, in another location, this book will give you a good look at what life was like while patients quarantined and attempted to recover, sometimes for years.

Nelson hopes to continue to gather information about the Lake Julia Tuberculosis Sanatorium and to share it with readers of her blog on this website. Sign up to receive notices of new blog posts. You may send your photos or information to Nelson at The author will post San photos from time to time, giving blog readers a chance to identify the subjects. Together with her readers, Nelson hopes to add to Open Window’s history of the San.

Pat Nelson’s newest book, Open Window TB, is an Amazon bestseller in three categories. She is a proofreader and editor as well as a former columnist for The Daily News and The Valley Bugler, Longview, WA, and a story contributor to Nelson is the author of the best-selling You … the Credit Union Member and co-creator of two humorous anthologies, Not Your Mother’s Book on Being a Parent and Not Your Mother’s Book on Working for a Living, and she has taught writing workshops.  

Open Window will interest anyone who likes to read about the history of disease and health care as well as those family genealogists who would like to learn more about the lives of ancestors who suffered from tuberculosis. The 8” x 10”, 283-page book is available in paperback or eBook (including Kindle Unlimited) at

Open Window” launched as an Amazon bestseller in three categories and earned the title of finalist in the biography category of the American Book Fest’s 2020 Best Book Awards.