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Photographs - Collections - 1-1091 251-300 - #00267

Title: Fort Totten School Preventorium
Dates: 1934-1936                                             

Collection Number: 00267          

Quantity: 15 items

Abstract: Copy photographs of Indian children at the Fort Totten School Preventorium. Copy negatives ordered from the National Archives Regional Center at Kansas City (MO). The collection was obtained from the National Archives Regional Center in Kansas City Missouri as part of the research work done by the staff of the State Historical Society of North Dakota at the beginning of restoration of the Fort Totten Historic Site. Research was originally done in the National Archives in Washington, D. C. by Frank Vyzralek, followed by Merl Paaverud, and later additional research was completed by Lou Hafermehl.  The Fort Totten Record Group was transferred from Washington, D.C. to the Regional Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Provenance: The copy negatives were purchased from the National Archives Regional Center in Kansas City Missouri .

Property Rights: The National Archives Regional Center in Kansas City Missouri owns the property rights to this collection.
Copyrights: Public records are not subject to copyright restrictions, although record series may contain copyrighted material.  Consideration of such copyrights is the responsibility of the author and publisher.
Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.       

Related Collections:       
Photograph Collections:
2002-P-026 Fort Totten
2005-P-028 Fort Totten and Devils Lake Weather Station
2005-P-033 Fort Totten Indian School Class and Teams
2007-P-002 Fort Totten ND
State Archives Series:
31112 Census Schedules for the Fort Totten Indian Reservation and Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, 1885-1905
31114 Census Schedules for the Fort Totten Indian Reservation, 1910-1939
31145 Fort Totten Post Returns
31146 Fort Totten Medical History
31147 Fort Totten Reservation File
31148 Fort Totten Historical Sketch and Building Specifications
31865 Fort Totten Agency, N.D. Record of Births and Deaths, 1901-1903
31997 Recipe Cards from Fort Totten Military Post and Indian School
32286 Historical Society. Historic Sites. Fort Totten Photographs
Manuscript Collections:
MSS 10607 George W. Hill Papers
MSS 10621 Fort Totten Military Reservation Records
MSS 20531 Pen drawing of Fort Totten, ca. 1867
MSS 50675 Fort Totten Trail Poster 1969
12639 The Fort Totten Review

Historical Sketch:

Located on the southeastern edge of the town of Fort Totten, this site preserves a military post built in 1867 and used continuously as a military reservation until 1890 when it became a boarding school for Indian children. The brick buildings, which replaced an earlier log fort, appear much as they did when built of locally made brick in 1868. Original buildings are now being used to house museum exhibits.
Fort Totten served American Indian policy from 1867 to 1959. Constructed as a military post, it became an Indian boarding school, Indian health care facility, and a reservation school. Initially, the fort policed the surrounding reservation. The soldiers enforced the peace, guarded overland transportation routes, and aided Dakota (Sioux) who lived near Devils Lake after 1867. Fort Totten was decommissioned in 1890.

On January 5th, 1891 the former post became the property of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The post served as an Indian boarding school until 1935. Academic and vocational training prepared Indian youth for life off the reservation. Enrollment sometimes topped 400.

For four years (1935-1939) the site was used as Tuberculosis Preventorium run by the Federal Government. This successful program was aimed at small groups of Dakota children who had or were susceptible to Tuberculosis. They were taught basic studies as well as being treated for Tuberculosis. “The girls dormitory was used by the preventorium children. There was an enrollment in 1936 of 66 pupils with an average attendance of 45 pupils. The preventorium was operated cooperatively by the education and health departments. The education department assumed all educational features. The health department supervised the clothing, food and living quarters. The children spent about four hours under the direction of the teachers and remainder of time was divided between their special rest periods and recreational activities. Special emphasis was placed on their food and eating habits. The dining room was supervised by the nurse and teachers. The children enjoyed this work very much and practically all the children enrolled gained weight. Miss Katen, secretary of the anti-tuberculosis association, gave us some valuable assistance in conducting the preventorium.” (William F. Canfield, Superintendent, Annual Report 1936)

When this program was shut down, the site returned to being a Community and Day School for the Reservation with gradually more input and control being given to the Tribal leaders of the Reservation.
Fort Totten became a North Dakota State Historic Site in 1960 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

Canfield, William F. Superintendent’s Annual Report 1936. NARS RG 75, Fort Totten Agency.
Connolly, Cynthia A. Saving Sickly Children: The Tuberculosis Preventorium in American Life, 1909–1970 (Critical Issues in Health and Medicine.) New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2008.
State Historical Society of North Dakota. “Historic Sites: Fort Totten Overview.” Accessed 07-06-2015.
'To Restore these Children': Fort Totten's Preventorium, 1935-1940. Northern Great Plains History Conference (2004: Bismarck, North Dakota)


00267-00001 Nine small children bundled up in winter clothing stand with staff and older Indian girls in front of building in the snow. A small dog walks away from the group on photo right.
00267-00002 Four boys and two girls (one seated behind the far photo right boy) sitting on ground in front of trees. In the far background are some of the buildings at Fort Totten. In the foreground photo left, an out-of-focus pair of men's shoes blocks the view of one small boy.
00267-00003 Fifteen small boys sitting on steps of Fort Totten School Preventorium building
00267-00004 Indian nurse holds a baby while an older girl holds a boy toddler.  On the ground four babies and two young toddlers (one boy, one girl) play in front of brick building. In the background photo right is one of the residential halls.
00267-00005 Twenty-six young Indian students sit, kneel and stand in front of trees for a group photo. They are all wearing one piece institutional jump suits and have their hair cut in a standard page boy haircut, with the boys hair trimmed up more on the sides and the girls having bangs in front.
00267-00006 Nine boys in jumpsuits stand alongside road in front of trees. Parade grounds and residential buildings can be seen in the distance behind the trees.
00267-00007. Seventeen young boys and girls in one piece jumpsuits stand in front of trees with the parade ground and residential buildings of Fort Totten behind them.
00267-00008 Young Indian children stand on back of truck with trash cans and man stands on ground in front of truck.
00267-00009 Fourteen young boys and girls drink milk from white cups while standing on porch of building. Two large milk cans sit on the sidewalk leading to the building.
00267-00010 Twenty-seven young boys and girls drink milk from white cups while standing on porch of building. Two large milkcans sit on the sidewalk leading to the building.
00267-00011 Twenty-three young Indian children standing, kneeling and laying down on the grass in a group in front of buildings.
00267-00012  Twenty-eight young Indian children drink milk from white cups while standing on porch of building with two milk cans standing on sidewalk in front of them.
00267-00013 Young Indian children (mostly girls) kneeling on grass in front of buildings.  One older woman is walking behind the group towards photo right behind the children.
00267-00014 Large group of young Indian children in one piece jumpsuits standing in front of trees. Behind them in the distance are the buildings that surround the parade grounds.
00267-00015 Indian babies and toddlers sitting in front of brick building with their caretakers standing behind them.

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