Spring water cure-alls

Many of us have probably already broken our New Year’s resolutions. If one of your resolutions was to live healthier in 2018, you may be interested in some of the health “cures” of yesteryear.

Two of the most popular Indiana historic hotels and spas, the French Lick Springs Hotel and the West Baden Springs Hotel, heavily advertised the healing properties of “taking the waters” during the early part of the 20th century. This involved bathing in the spring water and imbibing the sulfur-smelling water several times per day. French Lick Springs bottled the water and sold it internationally as Pluto water. West Baden’s version was Sprudel water. The spring waters were thought to help health conditions like diabetes and arthritis, as well as everyday ills such as irregularity and fatigue.

If you were thinking of trying to lose weight this year, you are not alone. In fact, this resolution is nothing new.

In his pamphlet from 1931, How to Slenderize the French Lick Way (Ip 613.12 no. 11), William Edward Fitch, MD, prescribed a plan which includes taking French Lick Salts mixed in water each day.

Two of the ingredients of French Lick spring water include sodium chloride and magnesium sulfate, both of which have laxative properties. The French Lick slenderizing program includes a low-calorie diet and some calisthenics, some of which are similar to yoga poses that are still done today. This pamphlet illuminates notions about diet and exercise popular during that time period. How to Slenderize the French Lick Way is digitized in the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collections.

The French Lick Springs Hotel, bought by Thomas Taggart in 1901, published regular advertising brochures touting the water cure. Here is an example from our digital collection:

This early 20th century brochure for the hotel featured indoor and outdoor springs so that people could take the water cure no matter the weather. The brochure includes a very detailed list of the ailments the water can help heal along with beautiful photos of the hotel and grounds. Other amenities advertised included a lush golf course and even a bowling alley. Exercise was strongly encouraged as part of the “cure.” There was even an outdoor pool that was put under a dome so that guests could swim outdoors in wintertime. The dome has been removed in recent years.

The West Baden Springs Hotel developed by Lee Sinclair was advertised as the “Carlsbad of America,” in trying to align the hotel with famous European spa resorts. In this digitized pamphlet, West Baden Springs: The Carlsbad of America (Ip 613.12 no. 52) published in the early 1900’s, Sprudel Spring Water as a health aid and an onsite medical facility are advertised.

You can still visit many of the outdoor springs at the West Baden Springs Hotel today.  The grounds have been partially restored, including some of the spring houses. The main attraction to the West Baden Springs Hotel was then, and still is, the beautiful and unique indoor dome, nicknamed the Eighth Wonder of the World. This hotel is regularly named one of the most luxurious both in Indiana and in the United States.

Both hotels still have spas attached in which you can still bathe in the spring water. The spas also feature massages and skin treatments among many other amenities. Even if you abandon your New Year’s resolutions altogether, visiting French Lick and West Baden will appeal to your interests in history and architecture. The beauty and glamour of these resorts will restore your spirit even if you decide not to “take the waters.”

More information is available at the Indiana State Library about French Lick and West Baden among other Indiana health spas. See this Indiana Collection Subject Guide to Mineral Spring Spas in Indiana.

This blog post was written by Leigh Anne Johnson, Indiana Division librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

 

Proposed Friends of the Riley Library group seeks members

My name is Dena Vincent and I’ve been the librarian at the Edward A. Block Family Library at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health for over 14 years. I received my Masters in Library Science in 2003 from Indiana University.

The children’s library at Riley Hospital got its start in the early 20th century. At the 1923 meeting of the Indiana Library Association, currently known as the Indiana Library Federation after a 1990 merger with the Indiana Library Trustees Association, members of the association pledged their support for the children’s library at Riley Memorial Hospital, today’s Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.1

I am seeking people who would be interested in starting and running a Friends of the Riley Library group. The focus of the group will be to support volunteer efforts for the library and to raise funds for the library to purchase and pay for magazine subscriptions, collection updates, supplies and, ultimately, to help fund library staff. The overall goal would be to generate the necessary funds to create and support an endowment for the library and its programs and services. The proposed friends of the library group would work closely with me and with the Riley Children’s Foundation to augment the support currently provided.

Due to increasing costs and a reduction in reimbursements, many cuts have been made in departmental budgets in the last few years. Therefore, non-revenue producing departments, like the library, will ultimately be funded by the Riley Children’s foundation.

The Edward A. Block Family Library is a library for patients and families. The library is similar to a small public library offering books for all ages, movies, video games, music CDs, magazines, phone charging, computers and printing/faxing/copying. Other services include Riley Reading Time on CCTV, dial-a-story and volunteers reading to patients and delivering book carts to their rooms.

Patients and families are welcome to come to the library, however, 35 percent of our patients are in isolation and another 25 percent are in the NICU.2 If a parent is not there to provide some distraction then these children may not have any type of distraction other than nurses or doctors. The Cheer Guild provides toys and crafts for the children, but as you can imagine children need other resources, especially reading.

The library at Riley got its start with the help of Indiana librarians and with your continued support we can provide a library to patients and families well into the future.

If you would like to be a member of the Friends of the Riley Library, call me at (317) 944-1149 or email me.

If you would like to volunteer, you may fill out an application here.

If you would like to donate monies/materials, or learn more about the library, please visit our website.

1Spencer, Rhonda, and Dina Kellams. “In Conclusion: Highlighting the Indiana Library Association-1923 Meeting at the West Baden Springs Hotel.” Indiana Libraries 31.2 (2012) 56. Abstract. Library Occurrent 6.12 (1923): 427-28. Print.

2 Riley Hospital. Riley Hospital Daily Brief. Rep. N.p.: n.p., 2016. Print. November & December.

This blog post was written by Dena Vincent, librarian, Edward A. Block Family Library at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.

How would you like your coffee?

Ah, yes, coffee, that marvelous drink so many of us have in our hands at some point in the day. It is such a pervasive part of our lives and our society that we not only drink it, we also cook with it. The book “Coffee Cookery” by Helmut Ripperger has a wide variety of food and drink made with coffee: Mocha pudding, mocha cupcakes and coffee cream pie. The following recipe is for hot coffee rum. Now doesn’t that sound lovely for a snowy night in front of the fire?

Have you ever wondered, even for a moment, how coffee and even coffee houses came to be so important? The Indiana State Library has a number of materials on the history of coffee, how and where it’s grown, as well as its influence on society.

One such book is “All About Coffee” by William H. Ukers, an in-depth work on the historical, technical, scientific, commercial, social and artistic aspects of coffee. The book contains numerous illustrations of historical London coffee houses as well as the following “Picture Coffee Map of the World.”

A current book in our browsing collection is “Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry” edited by Robert W. Thurston, Jonathan Morris and Shawn Steiman. It contains articles submitted by researchers on areas not only including the history of coffee, but also special chapters on producer country and consumer country profiles, the quality of coffee and coffee and health.

The idea that coffee is beneficial to your health isn’t new. The following image is of the first coffee broadside of 1674 speaking about how coffee was not only a “sober and wholesome drink,” but also was great at “preventing and curing most diseases.” There is a passage in the material that mentions another book entitled “Advice Against the Plague” by Gideon Harvey that recommended coffee as a way of warding of the contagion. There is also the story about a man named Pepys, who after being warned that his health was in danger if he continued drinking alcoholic drinks to excess, started frequenting coffee houses as a way to socialize without spirits, even though he wasn’t particularly fond of coffee as a drink.

Broadside from “Penny Universities: a History of the Coffee-Houses” by Aytoun Ellis

Just as with taverns and tea houses one of the most important aspects of coffee houses is and always was the opportunity to socialize. There were coffee houses that were infamous for being places where gambling was abundant, while others were places that business men would meet to read and discuss the news from that day’s papers, to simply discuss business or to grumble against their current government. In 1675, this last aspect brought about a royal “Proclamation for the Suppression of Coffee Houses” because of “the defamation of his majesties government” being spread by coffee house customers. Most, if not all, of these social activities can be found in today’s coffee houses making them a vibrant part of modern society and why coffee, no matter where it is served, is such a big part of people getting together.

To find out more about the history of coffee and coffee houses come to the state library. We’ll be happy to pull a few books for you.

This blog post by Daina Bohr, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Collections at (317) 232-3678 or email dbohr@library.in.gov.