firm active: 1907-1921

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Sanitarium for Frank H. Blackmaar, project
Purcell, Feick and Elmslie
Chicago, Illinois  1911

Text by William Gray Purcell
Parabiographies entry, Volume for 1911

Job Date (in Parabiographies): 1911 (no date)

Dr. Frank H. Blackmaar (Sanitarium)

Dr. Blackmaar was one of the earliest pioneers in America in the use of radium as an ameliorative and curative medium in cancer in all its manifestation, external and internal. He was on board the "Carpathia," on his way to Austria for more radium when the call came from the "Titanic." The extremely arduous experience in helping those who were saved made serious inroads on his health. At this date (1940) he is an invalid in retirement. We made tentative sketches for a sanitarium and research laboratory for him. This effort came to naught as the financial set-up could not be arranged. Later in Chicago, Mr. Elmslie made sketches for a much more ambitious scheme. It met a similar fate.

Dr. Blackmaar once showed Mr. Elmslie some colorless crystals sent to him by Johns Hopkins University. He was asked by them to see what would happen to the crystals if placed near the tube of salts of radium. I saw them two weeks later. They appeared to have been turned into rubies. Peacock, the jeweler, hearing of his radium, sent him a string of pearls that had completely lost their glowing beauty. Twenty-four hours in the same drawer as the radium wrought a kind of miracle. However, he told Peacock that he had no interest in pursuing such matters.

He once cured a cancer in one of the eyes of a most beautiful young woman. I saw the before-and-after photo. He hardly slept for three weeks, fearing a possible too great depth of penetration. The father came in and with tears in his eyes handed him $5,000--and he not a well to do man. No cure meant death, and before that blindness in both eyes.

Dr. Blackmaar was psychic to a degree and a fine diagnostician.


   Collection: William Gray Purcell Papers, Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota [AR:B4d1.5]
research courtesy mark hammons