On July 25, 1899, Dr. Henry A. Tobey in Toledo, Ohio, wrote to Dr. J. T. Eskridge in Denver, Colorado, regarding Paul Laurence Dunbar. Along with the letter, he sent a book of Paul's poetry. Tobey was superintendent of the Toledo State Hospital and one of Paul's earliest supporters. Eskridge was a well-respected neurologist in Colorado.
I take pleasure by this letter in introducing to you Mr. Paul Laurence Dunbar. Mr. Dunbar has come to Colorado on account of his health. Any consideration you can extend to Mr. Dunbar I assure you will be greatly appreciated.
Dr. Henry A. Tobey to Dr. J. T. Eskridge, July 25, 1899. Paul Laurence Dunbar Papers, Ohio History Connection (Microfilm edition, Roll 1).
About two months earlier, Paul became critically ill with pneumonia and was advised to move to a mountain climate. He spent the summer in the Catskill Mountains of New York, but the weather was poor and his health did not improve. In September, Paul traveled to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. In his reply to Dr. Tobey, Dr. Eskridge promised to help Paul when he got to Denver.
I am just in receipt of your letter of July 25th, with book of poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar. I assure you that I shall be very glad to extend to Mr. Dunbar any courtesy in my power when he comes to Denver, and will see that he gets the best medical care, if possible, free of charge. I have read many more of his poems, and some to me, especially those imitating the Negro dialect, are simply exquisite.
Dr. J. T. Eskridge to Dr. Henry A. Tobey, July 31, 1899. Paul Laurence Dunbar Papers, Ohio History Connection (Microfilm edition, Roll 1).
Despite the formality of their letters, the two doctors had been friends for years. Both were known for their progressive methods of treating mental illness.
The editorial on the insane asylum and the interview with the county commissioners in today's News are in no sense malicious, and I feel that you want to get at the truth of the matter. The management of the asylum, and especially the superintendent, have been misrepresented. The statement was made that the Toledo asylum, which is under the charge of Dr. Tobey, had about the same proportion of attendants as the Colorado State Asylum. I immediately wired Dr. Tobey, who is an able physician and a personal friend of mine, to give me the number of patients and number of attendants.
"The Insane Asylum," by J. T. Eskridge. The Daily News (Denver, Colorado). February 7, 1897. Page 7.
Like Paul, Eskridge came to Colorado from the East due to lung disease, and he recommended the climate as an effective treatment for tuberculosis.
J. T. Eskridge, M. D., is one of Denver's most prominent physicians. In August, 1884, he came west on account of tuberculosis of the lungs and located in Colorado Springs. In 1888 he removed to Denver, where he has his office in the Equitable building. Dr. Eskridge has devoted the best years of his life to the noble work of alleviating the sufferings of his fellow-men and his scholarly research, indefatigable labors and invaluable experience make him an authority on subjects relating to his profession.
Portrait and Biographical Record of the State of Colorado. Chapman Publishing Company (Chicago, Illinois). 1899. Pages 31, 32 and 35.
I will endeavor to make some practical remarks concerning Colorado Springs as a health resort for consumptive patients especially. I shall rely mainly on my own observations, made during the two years that, as an invalid, I have resided there. Those that are cured by Colorado climate are few in comparison with the many that are benefited and enabled to live comfortably for many years. A small number are able to return East and live, but those who thus venture to do so and break down the second time, receive much less benefit on again going to Colorado. It should be a rule, from which there ought to be as few exceptions as possible, that when a consumptive patient finds a climate that agrees with him, he should there make his home for the remainder of his life.
"Some Observations During Two Years' Residence at Colorado Springs, Colorado," by J. T. Eskridge, M. D. The Medical Bulletin: A Monthly Journal of Medicine and Surgery (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). November 1886. Pages 351 and 356.
Colorado has done more good by means of her climate in modifying the ravages of tuberculosis of the lungs than by her rich mines of gold and silver, and her immense and apparently inexhaustible fields of coal. It is impossible to estimate the number of useful lives that the climate of Colorado has either saved or prolonged. In a few words, tuberculous subjects live longer in Colorado than at sea level.
"The Influences of the Climate of Colorado on the Nervous System in Health and in Disease," by J. T. Eskridge, M. D. Denver Medical Times (Denver, Colorado). June 1901. Pages 607 and 610.