In 1905, the Maryland Society for the Prevention & Relief of Tuberculosis was founded by two Johns Hopkins Hospital physicians, William Osler and William Welch. The organization’s first president was Dr. Henry Barton Jacobs. The society was also associated with the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis (NASPT).
Beginning in 1907, the American Red Cross instituted a major fund raising effort known as the Christmas Seals campaign. By 1919, the Red Cross turned over complete control of the campaign to the NASPT, that had since been renamed the National Tuberculosis Association (NTA). The state affiliate became the Maryland Tuberculosis Association and they took charge of the local Christmas seal campaign. The “double-barreled” Cross of Lorraine, an international symbol of the anti-tuberculosis campaign, began to appear on Christmas Seals and became the recognized symbol of the NTA and its state affiliates. The campaign funded education about, treatment of, and research into tuberculosis. By the group’s fiftieth year, deaths from the disease had been reduced to a half of what they had been at its inception and the organization’s focus expanded to other respiratory disease.
The NTA joined other public health advocates in requesting the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health and, after it was issued in1964, began an educational campaign to combat smoking. In 1967, the expanded focus was recognized by changing the Associations’ names to “Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association.” Six years later, the national association was renamed the American Lung Association (ALA) and its local affiliate became the ALA Maryland Chapter.