Tuberculosis was a major killer in early twentieth-century Finland. It was also the target of the first genuinely national public health campaign. The first stage of this campaign was led by two non-governmental anti-tuberculosis associations, both founded in 1907. This article charts the founding and the early activities of these associations and argues that they made a significant contribution to nation-formation. This contribution was both ideological and practical. Through their activities, and through the rhetoric and imagery of “tuberculosis propaganda,” the associations heightened the sense of a nation threatened by and united against a common enemy. They took part in raising modern, medically observant citizens, and they introduced concrete health-care solutions that would survive well into independent Finland. Reflecting the political realities of the last decade of Russian rule in Finland, the antituberculosis campaign was top-down but not state-driven.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.