Edward Jenner, Benjamin Waterhouse, and the Introduction of Vaccination into the United States

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THE two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Edward Jenner, the discoverer of vaccination, was celebrated on Tuesday ,May 17, by functions in many places, but notably at Berkeley,Glos,his birth place, at the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Surgeons —where Sir Edward Mellanby gave an address—and the Wellcome Historical medical Museum. Much of what can be said—within the limits of an article—on Jenner's life and work has already been said. This present tribute to a man to whom mankind owes so much will therefore be concerned mainly with those aspects of his life and work which have some bearing on the introduction of vaccination into the United States. Although these events are well known in America, the important work which Benjamin Waterhouse did is not fully appreciated in Britain. In this brief article, it is impossible to avoid ground which has already been covered in certain American journals.

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  1. 1

    Baron, J., "Life of Edward Jenner", 1, 33 (1838).

  2. 2

    Jenner, E., Phil. Trans., 78, Pt. ii, 219–237 (1788).

  3. 3

    Baron, op. cit., (1), 1, 121.

  4. 4

    Underwood, E. A., presidential address to the Hist. Sect., Roy. Soc. Med. (1949).

  5. 5

    Baron, op. cit., (1), 1, 334–39.

  6. 6

    idem., ibid., 392.

  7. 7

    idem., ibid., 359.

  8. 8

    idem., ibid., 155.

  9. 9

    Welch, W. H., "The Jenner of America", Proc. Philadelph. Co. Med. Soc. (1885).

  10. 10

    Waterhouse, B., "A Prospect of Exterminating the Small-Pox" (Boston, 1800).

  11. 11

    idem., ibid., Part ii (Cambridge, Mass., 1802).

  12. 12

    Baron, op. cit., (1), 1, 386, and Waterhouse, op. cit. (10).

  13. 13

    idem., ibid., 439–43.

  14. 14

    Spalding, J. A., "Dr. Lyman Spalding" (Boston, 1916).

  15. 15

    Leikind, M. C., Bull. Hist. Med., 7, 671–86 (1939).

  16. 16

    Appleton's "Cyclopædia of American Biography", 5 (1888–89).

  17. 17

    Kelly, H. A., and Burrage, W. L., "Dict, of Amer. Med. Biography" (1928).

  18. 18

    See sonnet by Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve in H. Cushing's "Life of Osler", 1, 671.

  19. 19

    For other Waterhouse letters, see especially: Halsey, R. H., "How the President, Thomas Jefferson, and Doctor Benjamin Waterhouse established vaccination as a public health procedure" (New York, 1936). Fitz, R., Bull. Hist. Med., 11, 239–264 (1942). Spalding, R. W., Bull. Hist. Med., 20, 69–75 (1946). Trent, J. C., J. Hist. Med., 1, 25–40 (1946); and ibid., 1, 357–364 (1946).

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UNDERWOOD, E. Edward Jenner, Benjamin Waterhouse, and the Introduction of Vaccination into the United States. Nature 163, 823–828 (1949) doi:10.1038/163823a0

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