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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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Title
Benjamin Waterhouse papers, 1797-1829 (inclusive)
Name/Creator
Waterhouse, Benjamin, 1754-1846, creator
Spalding, Lyman, 1775-1821, correspondent.
Luzac, Jean, 1746-1807, correspondent.
Jenks, William, 1778-1866, correspondent.
Jenner, Edward, 1749-1823, correspondent.
Hosack, David, 1769-1835, correspondent.
Bowditch, Nathaniel, 1773-1838, correspondent.
HOLLIS IDDigital ObjectDigital ObjectLocation
Networked Resource

Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine
Language
English
Description
.13 1
Form/Genre
mixed material

Certificates.

Correspondence.
Subject
Cambridge (Mass.) ;  Boston (Mass.) ;  Smallpox Vaccine -- history ;  Smallpox -- Vaccination -- History -- 19th century ;  Smallpox -- Vaccination -- History -- 18th century ;  Harvard University. , Corporation. ;  Waterhouse, Benjamin , 1754-1846 ;  Harvard University -- History -- 18th century ;  Harvard University -- History -- 19th century ;  History of Medicine ;  Smallpox -- history ;  Smallpox -- prevention & control ;  Physicians

Category
Vaccination

Public Health, 1900-

Medical Education and Practice

Benjamin Waterhouse, 1754-1846

Note
The Benjamin Waterhouse papers, 1797-1829 (inclusive), consist of Waterhouse's (1754-1846) letters to colleagues, including Lyman Spalding (1775-1821), concerning smallpox inoculation and other medical topics. There are also copies of manuscript letters to Harvard Corporation in which Waterhouse defends himself against allegations he was working against the interests of Harvard Medical School.

Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846) was the first Hersey Professor of Theory and Practice of Physic at Harvard Medical School. He introduced vaccination against smallpox using cowpox matter in the United States in 1800. He was also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was the head physician at the United States Marine Hospital in Charlestown, Massachusetts from 1807 to 1809. Waterhouse was apprenticed to a physician in Newport at age 16. In 1775, Waterhouse traveled to Europe, where under the guidance of his mother's cousin, physician John Fothergill, he enrolled at the University of Edinburgh, studying medicine with professors such as William Cullen, and then at the University of Leyden in the Netherlands, from which he earned an M.D. in 1780. While attending Leyden, Waterhouse stayed in the home of John Adams, then American minister to the Netherlands. After returning to the United States, he became the first professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (1782) and was one of the three original members of the Harvard Medical School faculty, alongside John Warren (1753-1815) and Aaron Dexter (1750-1829). After reading a book by English physician Edward Jenner on the use of cowpox matter to vaccinate against smallpox, Waterhouse began to study vaccination, reviewing the available published materials and exchanging letters with colleagues in England, including Jenner. Waterhouse obtained a sample of cowpox matter, a thread soaked with cowpox lymph and placed in a sealed glass vial, which he used to vaccinate his son Daniel, on 8 July 1800. Waterhouse subsequently vaccinated three of his other children, Elizabeth, Benjamin, and Mary. The four children were then experimentally inoculated with smallpox at the Brookline smallpox hospital of Dr. William Aspinwall, and they were found to be immune. Waterhouse sought unsuccessfully to establish a universal vaccination program in the United States.

Benjamin Waterhouse papers, 1797-1829 (inclusive). B MS c10. Boston Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University, Boston, Mass.

Papers are in English.

Electronic finding aid available: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HMS.Count:med00220
Other Title
Other Title
  Colonial North American Project at Harvard University


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