From its mountain retreats to its mineral springs, its pine sandhills to its coastal plains, North Carolina has a long history of being touted for its natural health benefits. How, and why, have health practitioners of various stripes—some more legitimate than others—promoted the health effects of North Carolina’s natural environment? What appeals were made to the land itself—the air, water, trees, and soil? How did scientific and medical appeals lend credibility to local efforts to promote the healing capacities of a place? And what audiences were envisioned as being in need of this kind of environmental therapy?
This HHIVE Lab project will trace a rhetorical history of North Carolina’s healing places, such as the “Babies Hospital” in Wrightsville Beach, where ailing infants could partake of healthful sea air, or the McCain Sanitorium, where the pine-fresh air offered rest for patients with tuberculosis. Drawing on archival sources, interviews and oral histories, this project will engage undergraduate researchers in a public humanities project to map North Carolina’s healing places, building a digital memorial that shows how these places have figured into the state’s public imagination.