Dr. Sidney Blanchet and buggy Dr. Sidney Blanchet and (probably) Jeremy, possibly at Pine Pond Sidney Francois Norbert Blanchet, Ottawa, Canada. He was named Sidney for his uncle Sidney Hunton, professor of mathematics; and Francois Norbert for his great uncle Archbishop Francois Norbert Blanchet. Anglicized to Francis. Taken about 1909, probably of the Trudeau Sanitarium doctors and staff. Dr. Sidney Blanchet is in the light-colored suit. Sidney Blanchet, Davie, Gray, Jeremy Blanchet, and cousin Lena Clark Sidney Blanchet, c. 1910 Phylena McMaster, left; Dr. Sidney Blanchet, right Born: June 4, 1882

Died: November 12, 1937

Married: Mildred McMaster in 1911

Children: Gray Blanchet, Dr. David Blanchet, Jeremy Blanchet, PhD.

Dr. Sidney F. Blanchet came to Saranac Lake as a TB patient, and stayed on as a physician; for a time he headed Trudeau Sanatorium.

He was Canadian; his father was French speaking, and his mother was English speaking. In the 1920s and 30s, the family lived at 27 Church Street (now 49 Church Street). In 1935 he was pictured in the group photo of the Trudeau School of Tuberculosis.

His son Gray is pictured in June of 1922 and 1924 at the Baldwin School. His brother was Guy Blanchet, a prominent Arctic explorer.

A timeline titled "Recreational Therapy -- 1880s to 1939," compiled by Jeffrey A. Mansfield, credits Dr. Blanchet with founding the Saranac Lake Study and Craft Guild in 1936. After Dr. Blanchet's death, the Guild created an annual Blanchet Memorial Prose and Poetry Contest 1 honoring his love of poetry.

Esther Mirick worked as his secretary after graduating from Saranac Lake High School.

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Lake Placid News, November 27, 1937:

"The deceased entered McGill University to study medicine in 1900. He was stricken with tuberculosis and went to Saranac Lake as a patient. He entered Trudeau Sanatorium and his health improved sufficiently for him to return and complete his medical training. He was awarded his degree in 1908 and returned as a member of the staff at Trudeau.

He served as assistant to Dr. Lawrason Brown for several years and lived at the Adirondack Cottage Sanatorium.2 In 1910 he entered private practice in Saranac Lake and the following year he married Miss Mildred McMaster of Youngstown, whom he met as a patient at Trudeau Sanatorium. Successful in his study of tuberculosis, Dr. Blanchet attained considerable reputation in administering pneumo-thorax. Before the death of Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, he was his personal physician, giving the then little used treatment of collapse therapy.

Dr. Blanchet was elected a member of the village board in 1921 and again in 1923 (or 1925-26; see list). He was a founder of the Saranac Lake Curling Club, which he headed for many years. In 1926 and 1927 he was elected president of the Grand National Curling club of America. He played at all Gordon international cup matches during the last 25 years and was credited with bringing that match play to Saranac Lake in 1932.

Three years ago he organized the Saranac Lake Study and Craft Guild as a medium of rehabilitation of patients. He was elected vice-president of the organization and held that office at the time of his death. He was a member of the mayor’s advertising committee last spring and was working on advertising plans for the village when he suffered a nervous breakdown."


During the Depression, many of Dr. Blanchet's patients could not pay for care; Dr. Blanchet often treated them for free, resulting in his own bankruptcy. 3

Quote from a private letter to the family from the Saranac Lake Medical Society dated November 29, 1937:

"He was one of the earliest in this community to administer artificial pneumothorax. Not only was he a good physician in treating bodily ills, but he was greatly interested in the human side of medicine and he gave much of his time and energy in helping patients solve the problems that perplex many during the course of a long, chronic illness. He treated the mind as well as the body and it was this phase of his practice which made him eager to apply methods which would help to divert the patient's attention from his physical handicaps. It was natural then for him to be much interested in occupational therapy and he worked hard and earnestly to place the Saranac Lake Study and Craft Guild, in whose principles he firmly believed, on a sure foundation.

Dr. Blanchet was one of the early members of the Saranac Lake Medical Society. He had been one of our officers, and also served in various official capacities in the County and State Medical Societies. He was attending physician to the Reception Hospital for many years, and was on the Medical Board of the General Hospital, and was its secretary for a long period. He was also an instructor in the Trudeau School of Tuberculosis."

He was a member of the Saranac Lake Academy of Medicine, Franklin County Medical society, consultant at Trudeau sanatorium, and numerous other institutions, and published articles and books on Pneumothorax method. 4

From a letter from Dr. Lawrason Brown to Dr. Sidney Blanchet, June 7, 1937:

Dear Sid:

Our letters must have crossed. I cannot tell you how delighted I was to have gotten yours. You, no doubt, have heard about the meeting of the Thoracic Surgery. It apparently was very successful. They had a very good program and the men were very well entertained. Ed. Welles gave a dinner for fifty and entertained two hundred at a cocktail party. The Prices (Note - Woods Price and Sophia Hoerner Price) had the women at a tea. Ned Packard took a party up White Face. He had had a pain in his stomach since the morning. On the way up the pain became so bad he tried to vomit but that did not relieve him. After he reached home he took caster (sic) oil and an enema. A blood count showed 9000 leukocytes. He had a wretched night. The next morning his leukocytes were 25,000 and his abdomen was exquisitely tender. They operated and found a gangrenous appendix. Yesterday he was coming along all right though Ed Welles was still anxious. I have just heard he had a better night last night so I imagine he will pull through all right.

With you away, him laid up and John Hayes in Europe, we certainly are crippled.

Dr. Cipollaro5 has just been up to make his talk. He dropped in to see us. Mrs. Worden6 and Mrs. Cipollaro also came in. We were delighted to see them again. Dave Smith has just been here and is leaving today. He has been taking part in the school.

Martha joins me in much love,

yours, Laurie

Within six months of this letter, both Dr. Blanchet and Dr. Brown passed away. Blanchet was 55 years old and Brown was 66. If Dr. Brown felt that they were shorthanded before, things must have been worse in 1938.


Dr. Sidney Blanchet and Jeremy Blanchet. Courtesy of Sarah Blanchet

Lake Placid News, April 30, 1937

SARANAC LAKE EMPHASIZES HEALTH ITEM

$7,500 Set Aside in Budget to Publicize Benefits of Resort

The years-old problem, the sales promotion of Saranac Lake's health facilities as against an increased bid for sports and recreation, rose to new heights last week at Sararac Lake to plague Mayor Thomas P. Ward and members of the village board who sat thru a five-hour session at the annual budget hearing.

It resulted in earmarking $7,500 for health advertising, an increase of $2,500 over the estimate originally set and a general increase of $3,000 in the budget which will add 13 cents per thousand to the new tax rate.

A delegation of medical men backed by representative groups from the Saranac Lake Association of Private Sanatoria Owners pressed the request for increased expenditures for advertising and publicizing the health facilities of the community. The board heard Dr. Sidney F. Blanchard stress the need of carrying to the present generation of doctors the lesson of Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau.

The doctors recommended that the $7,500 be broken down to cover $2,000 for a contact man, $500 for literature, $5,000 for general newspaper and magazine advertising.

Fire Department Loses Out

Although pliable to the requests of the health group, the board withstood the fire council's recommendations for a new fire truck and an additional paid fireman, voting no on both requests.

As a result of the increase $106,403.95 will be raised by taxation this year.

Mayor Ward appointed Dr. Henry Leetch, Dr. Blanchet and Dr. Charles C. Trembley to work with Trustees Louis Kendall and A. W. Currier on the proposed expenditure.

The doctors who addressed the board were Dr. D. M. Brumfield, Dr. J. Woods Price, Dr. Leetch, Dr. Hugh M. Kinghorn, Dr. E. M. Jameson, Dr. Warriner Woodruff, Dr. E. S. Welles and Dr. Blanchet.

All were of the opinion that a great need existed for continued advertising of the health facilities. Figures were quoted to show that in 1933, 373 patients came to the village; 1934, 457; 1935, 405 and 1936, 420. The increase from 1933 to 1934 meant an increase in revenue of more than $75,000, the medical men said.

Once Only U. S. Resort

Dr. Blanchet said: "For years Saranac Lake was the only resort in America whose sole purpose was the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. Doctors in different places, keen in diagnosis and informed about the treatment of the disease, sent more and more patients to this village.

"The results obtained with the patients were encouraging and as the fame of Saranac Lake grew the number of patients kept increasing. As time went on state, counties and municipalities took up this work and built and ran sanatoria of their own. Of course, the opening of so many institutions for this treatment began to slow up the stream of patients coming here.

"We should not neglect what has always been our chief industry. We have a record in helping people with tuberculosis of which we should all be proud. Are we going to let this slip from our hands because we are unwilling to spend the money, necessary to keep doctors and patients informed about it?"


My dear Dr. Blanchet— I am much pleased at your remembrance of me on my 61st birthday and thank you for it. Certainly I will never forget the dinner with all the doctors at the Berkeley on my 60th birthday and I said then if there is any compensation in being 60 years old and thoroughly "played out" it should be found in such an occasion and in the spirit and affection of one's colleagues—I wish you would come in some day and have a talk with me about the running of the Sanitarium during Dr. Brown's absence for you will have to take his place. I want also to say to you that of course if you take his place you will receive the same salary that he does for as long as you take it. I hope you can familiarize yourself with his work so that things will run on as usual so far as records etc are concerned. Come in some time and we will talk it over. Very sincerely, E. L. Trudeau

Dear Dr. Blanchet— Please put on the waiting list from today the name of Miss Turner of Oswego N.Y in whom Miss Lilla Wheeler is much interested. She is the only patient Miss Wheeler has ever asked to have admitted. I have written Miss Wheeler to have her come to Saranac as soon as possible and we would look after her outside of the San until she could get in. I have been thinking over what you talked about the other day. What is the matter with staying at the San as long as it can be managed and then trying your luck in the village? I am sure I personally would be glad to have you stay. Most sincerely, E. L. Trudeau

A Boston physician's address noted on Dr. Blanchet's prescription pad. Courtesy of Shelby Hines.

The Guild News, November 19, 1937 Dr. Sidney F. Blanchet It was with a great feeling of sorrow and a very real sense of personal loss that we heard of the sudden and untimely death of Dr. Sidney Blanchet. Those of you who knew the man will appreciate how this village feels about this loss. Dr. Blanchet had been a resident of this village for over twenty-five years, having come here as a health seeker. After his period of curing had ended successfully, he took up the practice of his profession and soon became one of the outstanding specialists in the treatment of tuberculosis. From that time on, Dr. Blanchet remained one of the leading figures in this community. Aside from his abilities as a physician, the man was loved for those very human qualities which quickly endeared him to all those who had dealings with him. He understood thoroughly the problems and difficulties which so frequently make the business of curing such an arduous and unpleasant one. He was unstinting in his advice and whenever he was able to do so, with more material help. Dr. Blanchet was one of the founders of the GUILD idea in this village. He worked unceasingly to see what might very easily have been a hazy dream, come into reality. Together with William F. Stearnes he devoted much of his time and energy to seeing the Study and Craft Guild launched on its successful career. In no small part, the GUILD and all it stands for in Saranac Lake is a monument to the faith and vision of Dr. Sidney Blanchet. We of the GUILD will miss him. Those of us who were his friends, and they were legion, will feel that Dr. Blanchet’s death will prove an irretrievable loss to this community. His unfailing kindness and courtesy, his almost paternal interest in his patients, his keen sense of civic and social responsibility and above all, his warm, human understanding of people and their problems, are qualities which will be remembered for many, many years to come. To his family and his wide circle of friends we offer our most heart-felt sympathy.

Presidents of the Grand National Curling Club of America

 


The Guild News, January 1941

"Guild Biography" by Amy Jones

. . . Dr. Sidney Blanchet, who "carried books in his pockets for patients and encouraged them to write whether they could or not," and who "once went to Woolworth's for candles and a picture to put in a patient's drab room."

 

 

Review of a paper by Packard Hayes Blanchet et al.pdf

See also: "Repressions," a set of limericks about the doctors by Mildred Blanchet, posted at the bottom of her page.

Comments


2012-04-17 13:13:15   I am the granddaughter of Sidney F. Blanchet. While reading all the info above, the name Dr. Cipollaro rang a bell. My parents, Gray and Marjorie Gallaway Blanchet, knew him well, in fact I think my mother worked for him for a time. He was a dermatologist, of that I am sure. Sincerely~Shelby Blanchet (Gwatkin) Hines —99.124.229.127

Footnotes

1. Adirondack Daily Enterprise, June 1948
2. US Federal Census 1910
3. email, children of Gray Blanchet; also email children of Jeremy Blanchet
4. He was on the editorial committee and a contributor for the publication "Artificial Pneumothorax, Its Practical Application in the Treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis, contributions by Saranac Lake physicians to the studies of the Trudeau Foundation," Lea and Febiger, Philadelphia, 1940. Also "Treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis With the Help of Artificial Pneumothorax, Sidney F. Blanchet, M.D. Archives of Surgery January 1925, Vol 10, pp 306-311 and "Results in One Hundred Cases of Pulmonary and Intestinal Tuberculosis with the use of the Ultra-Violet Ray" by Sidney F. Blanchet, M.D, Transactions of the Seventeenth Annual Meeting of the National Tuberculosis Association
5. Probably Dr. Anthony Cipollaro, Dermalogist
6. Is this Judith Ann Worden?