University of Virginia Historical Collections at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library

Introduction to the American Lung Association and the Fight against Tuberculosis

“The Christmas Seal People”

The American Lung Association is the oldest voluntary public health agency in the United States. The original name of the ALA was the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis (NASPT), formed in 1904 to combat the deadliest disease of the time. The name was changed to the National Tuberculosis Association (NTA) in 1918, and finally, with the decline of tuberculosis and the rise of other serious lung diseases, to the American Lung Association (ALA) in 1973. The American Lung Association of Virginia (ALAV) had been similarly renamed since its formation in 1909 as the Virginia Anti-Tuberculosis Association. The ALAV was disbanded in 2009. Today the American Lung Association is dedicated to the prevention, cure, and control of all lung diseases.

The ALA is perhaps best known as “The Christmas Seal People.” Since 1907, the Christmas Seal Campaign has raised many millions of dollars toward the fight against lung disease. The fame of the Christmas Seal makes the holiday season the perfect time to honor the work of the ALA.

Dr. Carl Booberg (Director of the ALAV in 1991) signing over the ALAV Collection to Linda Watson

Dr. Carl Booberg and Linda Watson

This exhibit recounts the origin and early history of the American Lung Association. Pictured here is Dr. Carl Booberg (Director of the American Lung Association of Virginia in 1991) signing over the ALAV Collection to Ms. Linda Watson (Director of the CMHSL). The Collection contains personal and official correspondence, financial and legal papers, minute books, organizational and scientific reports, educational publicity, photographs, and artifacts. The Claude Moore Health Sciences Library wishes to gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the American Lung Association of Virginia, whose donation of the organization’s papers to the Library in 1990 and 1991 made this exhibit possible. The ALAV made an additional donation in 2009.

Copyright Notice

The materials in this exhibit are kept in the Wilhelm Moll Rare Book and Medical History Room of the University of Virginia Health Sciences Library. They are owned by the University of Virginia and are protected under U.S. Copyright Law. For permission to reproduce any of the text or images or to make comments or suggestions, please contact a member of Historical Collections. This exhibit was created by Donny Wright and Joby Topper. It was on display at the Health Sciences Library in early 1998 and converted to the Web in December of 1998. Redesign of the exhibit was completed in 2004 by Steve Stedman.