Tag Archives: Edward Jenner

John Walker, vaccinator extraordinaire

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Medicine has bred many odd but audacious characters, eccentrics, polymaths and “truants.” One might argue that those characteristics attracted such people to careers in medicine: a chicken and egg dilemma. Conversely, some have argued that modern regulated uniformity has infected medicine and stultified originality. A little-known medical eccentric and heretic […]

Caleb Hillier Parry MD FRS

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Caleb Hillier Parry Hyperthyroidism or exophthalmic goiter, often called Graves’ disease or Basedow’s disease, was first recorded by Caleb Parry (1755-1822) (Fig 1) posthumously in 1825. William Osler called the affliction “Parry’s disease.” Caleb Parry was born in Cirencester, the son of Joshua Parry, a dissenting […]

“Killed By Vaccination”: the enduring currency of a nineteenth century illogic

Saty Satya-Murti Santa Maria, California, United States   Fig. 1. William Young’s 1886 pamphlet alleging that smallpox vaccinations slaughter and kill. Source: Wellcome Collection. In Public Domain. Vaccine misinformation and anti-vaccination conspiracy theories are not new but have acquired a combative energy during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly all the arguments now raised against vaccination were […]

The wonderful world of vaccines

Jayant Radhakrishnan Chicago, Illinois, United States   A patient with his whole body covered with smallpox lesions. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, photo by Barbara Rice. Epidemics and pandemics became an issue about 10,000 years ago when hunters and gatherers became farmers and began to live in communities. Smallpox was one of the first […]

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and smallpox

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. A painting of Mary Wortley Montagu by Jonathan Richardson the Younger. Via Wikimedia. There are few examples of people with no medical training who independently make significant advances in medical practice. One such person was the elegant, aristocratic Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762)—daughter of Evelyn Pierrepont, 1st Duke […]

Vaccinating a young child

The entire household has assembled to watch a child being vaccinated against smallpox. Inoculation with material derived from cowpox lesions was still sufficiently novel to excite such interest. It had been first attempted in 1796 by Edward Jenner, who used the term vaccination because the Latin for cow is vacca and cowpox was called vaccinia. […]

Edward Jenner and the dairymaid

Smallpox has plagued mankind since time immemorial, causing huge epidemics with great loss of life and often changing the course of history. The disease could be prevented or ameliorated by variolation, the subcutaneous inoculation with fluid from smallpox lesions into non-immune individuals. Variolation had been used for centuries, even for members of royal families. It […]