When the Fergus Falls State Hospital opened its doors on July 29, 1890, it became the first state institution in northern Minnesota for patients considered insane. The hospital had a sprawling campus and large stately buildings, built according to the influential asylum plan developed by Philadelphia physician Thomas Kirkbride in the 1850s.
In the 1930s and 1940s, when polio was rampant in the United States, the predominant treatment method was to immobilize the patient's body in braces and splints. But Sister Elizabeth Kenny, an Australian nurse who resettled in Minnesota in 1940, believed in a controversial alternative method. MN90 Producer Andi McDaniel describes how Kenny revolutionized polio care. Includes an interview with Kate Roberts, author of Minnesota 150, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2007.
During the mid-to-late nineteenth century, Minnesota faced public health issues such as poor sanitation and disease epidemics. To address these issues, Minnesota established a state board of health in 1872. It was the third such board in the United States.
World War II "K-ration" issued to a Minnesota soldier, c.1941-1944. The K-ration, developed by and named for University of Minnesota physiologist Ancel Keys, provided soldiers in World War II with calorie-rich foods and psychological sustenance in the form of cigarettes.