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Cholera Epidemics in the 19th Century

The Great Plague of London, 1665

The Boston Smallpox Epidemic, 1721

“Pestilence” and the Printed Books of the Late 15th Century

Spanish Influenza in North America, 1918–1919

Syphilis, 1494–1923

Tropical Diseases and the Construction of the Panama Canal, 1904–1914

Tuberculosis in Europe and North America, 1800–1922

The Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia, 1793

General Materials

Notable People

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Cotton Tufts Papers

Cotton Tufts (AM 1749, MD Hon. 1785, Harvard University) studied medicine with his older brother Simon in Medford, Massachusetts, and later established his own practice in Weymouth. He was an incorporator of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the convention to adopt the United States Constitution. Tufts was also an incorporator of the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1781 and served as its fourth president (1787–1795). He introduced a popular treatment for diphtheria early in his career.

The full collection at the Countway Library contains correspondence of Tufts with his brother Simon and other individuals. Correspondence concerns the founding of a medical society in Massachusetts, inquiries about measles and other illnesses, a discussion of Edward Jenner and vaccine, and other matters. Also included are manuscripts by Tufts on vaccine, inoculation, and the spread of measles in the Boston area in 1772 and 1773. Other documents include a fragment of Tufts’s medical journal from his practice in Weymouth, a treatise on distemper, reading notes, medical prescriptions, a bill, and the draft of a state act regarding the inspection and regulation of apothecaries.