Dr. George Thomas Palmer specialized in treating tuberculosis patients. Dr. Palmer opened the Springfield Open Air Colony in 1913. It was located in a farm house on 20 acres at the end of Lawrence Avenue where Chatham Road intersects. Soon the name was changed to Palmer Sanatorium. Over the years the farm house was enlarged, outbuildings were converted for sanatorium use and cottages were built. The Stephen Littler home at 205 W. Miller, was rented and renamed The Homestead as added space for returning WWI veterans with TB.
In 1924 a new building was constructed on the original land to properly house a surgical unit, administrative offices, dental rooms, a sun porch and beds for fifty patients. That building was also expanded later. Dr. Palmer died in 1943. Mrs. Palmer decided to sell the sanatorium in 1953.
The Palmer Sanatorium Collection is composed of three photo albums, 2 pamphlets and a biographical paper on Dr. George Thomas Palmer written by his wife Maude G. Palmer. A few newspaper articles have also been copied and added to the original donation. Photographs in the albums feature the tuberculosis patients, their nurses, doctors, sanatorium grounds and visitors. The pictures range in time from the near establishment of the facility in 1913 into the late 1930s.