Jim Whitelaw
Adirondack Daily Enterprise
, October 11, 1996
Born:

Married: Ramona

Children: Frank Whitelaw

Jim Whitelaw, of Bloomingdale, worked at the Saranac Laboratory starting in 1949, where he worked with Arthur J. Vorwald. In 1954, he facilitated the closing of the Saranac Laboratory and the transferring of operations to the new Trudeau Institute where he worked until his retirement in 1996. He was also the caretaker for Dorothea Harris from 1959 to 1998 at camp Point o' View on Lower Saranac Lake, and a sportsman and rugby player.

In 2013, Mr. Whitelaw provided Historic Saranac Lake some old letter file boxes from the old lab and a hand drawn map of the animal facilities at the Saranac Laboratory (posted on that page).  

In a phone interview in 2013 with Amy Catania of Historic Saranac Lake, Mr. Whitelaw described that there was a special area for rabbits, and a workshop was behind that. There was a series of rooms with equipment to make dust. Attached to that area were garages owned by Mrs. Trudeau that went right up to the property line by the Hotel Saranac. They kept monkeys in a large cage. Mainly they kept guinea pigs, rats and mice. There were human lungs and other organs of the body stored in the basement that had had TB infection. He said, "We chucked  most of the lungs at the landfill, when we were cleaning house in '64. We picked out some to keep."

There were also rock samples stored in the lab from mines from many places. They were all thrown away when the lab moved. Ed Urban was the engineer at the old lab. He had an office in the downstairs front area where the kitchen is now. He had a whole cabinet full of mine rocks. Jim used to go to the mines with Ed Urban and take air samples and x-rays of the workers. He remembers doing this in Mineville. He recalls that once an atomizer full of TB accidentally blew up in his face and made him sick. He also got sarcoidosis, possibly from exposure to Berillium dust at the lab. He said, "some of the people we worked with died, but they were not diagnosed. They died slowly and we wondered if it was about exposure. Sometimes we wore a respirator and sometimes we didn't."

 

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