Dissecting the Pamphlet Literature of the Boston Smallpox Inoculation Controversy

dc.contributor.author Sivils, Matthew
dc.contributor.author Sivils, Matthew
dc.contributor.department English
dc.date 2018-02-16T01:35:48.000
dc.date.accessioned 2020-06-30T02:19:52Z
dc.date.available 2020-06-30T02:19:52Z
dc.date.copyright Sat Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2011
dc.date.embargo 2015-04-01
dc.date.issued 2011-04-01
dc.description.abstract <p>In April of 1721, a number of ships from the West Indies docked in Boston Harbor. One of these vessels, the HMS Seahorse, hailing from Salt Tortuga, delivered a shipment of cargo to the colony. It also brought smallpox. Despite efforts to quarantine the infected, by the end of May, eight people had contracted the deadly virus, and with the specter of an epidemic looming over the city, the citizens of Boston looked to two different sources for medical leadership: the clergy and an assortment of medical practitioners.<a><sup>2</sup></a> The clergy, led by Cotton Mather, championed the relatively new practice of inoculation, or variolation, as a preventative for smallpox, while the physicians, represented by the Scots-born physician, William Douglass, scorned such a strategy as dangerous to the general population. A battle of words ensued between these camps, with each publishing fiery arguments in the pages of Boston’s newspaper and pamphlet literature. The key documents of this debate—distributed as the epidemic claimed life after life—stand as powerful cultural narratives that reveal the complex rhetorical and literary strategies employed by these two groups at a crucial moment in the story of the institutionalization of medical knowledge-making in America.</p>
dc.description.comments <p>Copyright 2011 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in <em>Literature and Medicine</em>, vol. 29, Iss. 1, Spring 2011, 39-57.</p>
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.identifier archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/engl_pubs/14/
dc.identifier.articleid 1010
dc.identifier.contextkey 6932939
dc.identifier.s3bucket isulib-bepress-aws-west
dc.identifier.submissionpath engl_pubs/14
dc.identifier.uri https://dr.lib.iastate.edu/handle/20.500.12876/23448
dc.language.iso en
dc.source.bitstream archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/engl_pubs/14/2011_Sivils_DissectingPamphlet.pdf|||Fri Jan 14 20:07:41 UTC 2022
dc.source.uri 10.1353/lm.2011.0315
dc.subject.disciplines History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
dc.subject.disciplines Other English Language and Literature
dc.subject.disciplines United States History
dc.title Dissecting the Pamphlet Literature of the Boston Smallpox Inoculation Controversy
dc.type article
dc.type.genre article
dspace.entity.type Publication
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relation.isOrgUnitOfPublication a7f2ac65-89b1-4c12-b0c2-b9bb01dd641b
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