Materials Cataloged Separately
Scope and Content
Language of Material:
The Bancroft Library
Title: Arequipa Sanatorium Records,
Arequipa Sanatorium (Fairfax, Calif.)
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 92/894 c
4.5 linear feet
2 boxes, 3 cartons, and 1 oversize folder
Date (inclusive): 1911-1958
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Records span the years from its beginning in 1911 throughout the operation and closure of Arequipa Sanatorium in 1957/58.
Contains a small amount of administrative, financial, and medical files, as well as the correspondence of Dr. Philip King
Brown, and miscellaneous materials relating to The Arequipa Pottery. The bulk of the collection consists of individual patients'
files, along with the sometimes poignant correspondence and other writings by patients, and various in-house publications.
Language of Material: English
Collection is open for research.
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[Identification of item], Arequipa Sanatorium Records, BANC MSS 92/894 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California,
Materials Cataloged Separately
Photographs have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
The Arequipa Sanatorium Records were given to The Bancroft Library by the San Francisco Bay Girl Scout Council, via Nancy Berg, Executive Director, on November 22, 1991.
The Arequipa Sanatorium was founded by San Francisco physician, Philip King Brown. In his work with patients in the City after the 1906 earthquake and fire, Dr. Brown discovered that the TB rate for women
was twice that of men; appalled by this statistic, he made plans to build a sanatorium to treat women exclusively, and called
on many of his influential Bay Area friends to help.
Henry Bothin, a Marin County philanthropist, donated land in Fairfax in western Marin County—a tract which had once belonged to Phoebe Apperson Hearst, a Brown family friend. The property adjoined Hill Farm, a home for convalescent women and children. Managed by the Telegraph Hill Neighborhoood Center and its founder Elizabeth Ashe, this land had also been donated by Bothin. John Bakewell, prominent San Francisco architect, donated his services and designed the graceful sanatorium, and Phoebe Apperson Hearst donated the money for a laundry. With the gift of $10,000 by an anonymous donor, Dr. Brown was able to open Arequipa—a Peruvian
Place of Rest —in 1911.
Conceived as a
school where patients would learn how to cure themselves through fresh air and bed rest, the sanatorium featured large wards that
were screened from floor to ceiling, even in winter. Whenever possible, locally grown food was served, and members of many
Bay Area families donated money and goods. Arequipa eventually had three wards, a small library, living room, dining room,
bathrooms, and examining rooms. Patients read, slept, wrote and published in-house magazines, and enjoyed the various entertainers
who came to visit the sanatorium.
Dr. Brown believed that if the patients had something to occupy themselves, they would spend less time worrying about their
disease and would heal more quickly. He began to experiment with various types of occupational therapy, and in 1911, decided
to open a pottery. He secured the services of Frederick Rhead, a prominent English ceramist, to run Arequipa Pottery, which was in operation from 1911 to 1919. Patients made pottery that was sold in stores throughout the country; profits helped
pay the cost of their treatment. In 1915, Arequipa had a booth at the Panama Pacific International Exposition, where discharged
patients demonstrated pottery-making and sold examples of the product. There were three Pottery Directors before the operation
closed at the end of World War I: Frederick Rhead,
Albert Solon, and Fred Wilde, all of whom went on to even greater fame in the field of ceramics. Arequipa Pottery is a prized collectible today, and fine
examples can be seen at The Oakland Museum and the Smithsonian Institution.
With the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940s and their use in the fight against TB in the 1950s, it became possible to treat
patients at home, and admissions to the sanatorium dwindled. By the end of the decade it was apparent that Arequipa was no
longer needed and it was closed in 1957. The property was leased to the Girl Scouts in 1960 for use as a camp.
When he was hired in 1982, the property's site manager, Mr. Happy Stanton, discovered that Arequipa's archive of historical
records had been left behind throughout the former sanatorium building, as well as other structures on the property. He collected
and cleaned the materials, placed them into boxes, and put them into safe storage on the property. In addition to preserving
Arequipa's archive, Mr. Stanton was also instrumental in assisting the Girl Scouts of Northern California when the organization
donated the collection to the Bancroft Library.
The sanatorium, damaged by the heavy rains of the early 1980s and seismically unstable, was torn down in 1984. The Girl Scouts
of Northern California leases the property, as well as the adjoining tract which used to be Hill Farm. Both locations are
administered as the Bothin Youth Center.
Philip King Brown was born in Napa, California in 1869. His mother was Dr. Charlotte Blake Brown, the founder of San Francisco's Children's Hospital and an outstanding physician and surgeon. He received his M.D. from Harvard in 1893 and, after studying in Germany, returned
to the Bay Area to begin his practice. He was a co-founder of the San Francisco Boys Club, and was active in the Tuberculosis Polyclinic, designed to help people recognize the symptoms of tuberculosis and to cure themselves once they had contracted the disease.
In 1900, Brown married Helen Hillyer, and the couple had four children: Hillyer, Cabot, Phoebe, and Bruce. Many San Francisco notables were counted as friends
of the Brown family, including Phoebe Apperson Hearst,
Bruce Porter, and John Bakewell.
Although Dr. Brown considered himself a general practicioner, he was well-known for his work with the tuberculous at the
Polyclinic. He was incensed by the attitude of most municipal authorities toward the treatment of tuberculosis; this led him
to found the Arequipa Sanatorium in 1911, financed and built almost entirely by donations.
Except for a brief stint with the Red Cross in France during World War I, Dr. Brown continued as Medical Director of Arequipa until the early 1930s. Dr. Ethel Owen succeeded him in this position, followed by Dr. Brown's son, Cabot, as the final Medical Director.
Dr. Philip King Brown died in October of 1940, having remained active in many charities and worthy causes in the Bay Area.
Scope and Content
The records of Arequipa Sanatorium in Fairfax (Marin County), California, cover the years from its beginning in 1911 throughout its operation and closure in
1957/1958. They contain a small amount of administrative, financial, and medical files, as well as the correspondence and
writings of Dr. Philip King Brown, and miscellaneous materials relating to The Arequipa Pottery. The bulk of the collection consists of patients' files, along with correspondence and various in-house publications and other
writings by patients.
Topics of note include a dispute with a noisy local dog kennel, a handwritten history of The Arequipa Pottery by Dr. Brown's wife, design sketches used in The Pottery, and the sometimes poignant correspondence, writings, and medical
files of individual patients.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Arequipa Sanatorium (Fairfax, Calif.)