I have a friend who is a very contemporary, up-to-date kind of fellow. He is always centered exclusively on the here and now. His clothes shine with newness; he knows the release dates of the latest movies and what the movie stars have been up to. The future? Too vague to bother with. History? Come on, forget about it! What could be more boring than musty days gone by? He has often remarked that he finds my passion for history mystifying, an awkward defect in an otherwise good friend.
I was thinking of this today when I pulled up my Christy Mathewson file. In it there are nearly 350 different items ranging from photos to copies of news clippings and even other bits of information that relate to the Giant hurler only vaguely. Now, I’ll admit that much in this file is pretty obscure, things I’ll probably find useless even if I live another fifty years. It is, however, these seemingly insignificant details that can bring a person, a time and a place to life. So, with that in mind I’d like to share a few of the items in my Mathewson folder.
Two contemporary images of the luxurious Santanoni Apartments in Saranac Lake, New York. Mathewson had moved to Saranac to take advantage of the nearby tuberculosis treatment center and sanatorium. The final image is of the floor plan to his apartment. Old teammate Larry Doyle, afflicted in 1942 with the same disease, also made his way to Saranac. He stayed at the Trudeau Sanitarium a full twelve years, until it closed in 1954 with the introduction of effective antibiotics. He was the last patient to leave, walking off the grounds.