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Still showing two black men talking at a table. Still showing a man and a woman talking.
Still showing a Native American in profile. Still showing a woman at a sewing machine.

Edgar Ulmer's Tuberculosis Films
From the late 1930s through the early 1940s, low-budget filmmaker and perennial Hollywood underdog Edgar G. Ulmer (1904-1972) directed several educational health shorts for the National Tuberculosis Association (NTA), an organization founded in the early 1900s to raise money to combat TB. The NTA also ran a massive educational campaign, using film as one medium to reach the public. These films admirably served the educational mission of the media-savvy NTA, but were not mere promotional products. They are also the work of a director with a unique understanding of the role germs—literal and metaphorical—play in the American social fabric. Germs, and a unique notion of fate’s communicability and the hand human beings have in the chain of actual or conceptual contagion, unite Ulmer’s body of work, which included many theatrical productions as well. The four films featured here—Let My People Live, Another to Conquer, Cloud in the Sky, and They Do Come Back—were part of a series of films the NTA sponsored in an effort to reach specific communities where the disease still lingered, including Native Americans and African Americans.

Edgar Ulmer, The NTA, and the Power of Sermonic Medicine
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Bibliography
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Supplementary Materials
View the image gallery, watch a short documentary about Edgar Ulmer, and read blog posts about other tuberculosis films.

Digital Record
Let My People Live
Cloud in the Sky
Another to Conquer
They Do Come Back