A History


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About the Book

Scientifically known as Variola major, the deadliest form of smallpox has plagued mankind since “time immemorial.” This text chronicles the worldwide effects of the killer disease, with particular emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries, including the devastations of the “speckled disease” during great armed conflicts. Specific attention is paid to the development and utilization of Dr. Edward Jenner’s vaccination, chronicling the anti-vaccination movement, the evolving concept of compulsory vaccination and the global march toward eradication. Legal and moral challenges, the National Vaccine Institute, the treatment of American Indians and African Americans, immigrants, the often bloody quarantine battles, germ warfare, superstitions and home remedies are addressed from the historical perspectives of those who lived through and those who died of this scourge.

About the Author(s)

S.L. Kotar of St. Louis has been writing (together with J.E. Gessler) for more than four decades, beginning with scripts for television’s Gunsmoke.

The late J.E. Gessler lived in St. Louis.

Bibliographic Details

S.L. Kotar and J.E. Gessler

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 432
Bibliographic Info: 42 photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6823-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9327-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. Smallpox “from time immemorial” 3
2. Enter Inoculation 11
3. Smallpox in the New World 24
4. Cotton Mather and Smallpox Inoculation in the American Colonies 33
5. “This Distemper Is the King of Terrors”: Smallpox and the American Revolution 39
6. The Father of Immunology 46
7. “This inestimable discovery” 53
8. “The state of medicine is worse than that of total ignorance” 58
9. The Battle for Vaccination in the Early Years of the Republic 64
10. Testimonies to the High Value of Esteem 70
11. Compulsory Vaccination 75
12. The Health and Well-Being of the General Populace 86
13. The Vaccine Institution and Beyond 101
14. The American Indian Vaccination Act 109
15. Quarantines and Death Statistics 116
16. The Quarantine Wars 125
17. The Contagion of Smallpox 137
18. The Blue, the Gray and the Speckled 143
19. The Last Full Measure of Devotion 157
20. The Non-Eradication of Smallpox in England 167
21. The Franco-Prussian War and the Smallpox Pandemic of 1870–1874 173
22. Case Studies of Misdiagnosis 184
23. Smallpox: Variola, Varioloid and Vaccinia 191
24. The Hoffman Block Outrage and Other Stories 204
25. Smallpox in Canada and England Through the 1880s 212
26. “Providence does a great deal for us, the city fathers nothing” 224
27. Of Rags and Railroads 237
28. School Boards Win Some and Lose Some 246
29. Anti-Vaccination Hysteria in Great Britain 257
30. Incidence of Smallpox Worldwide Up to the 20th Century 262
31. New Century, Old Problems 275
32. Vaccination Creeds, Homeopathic Pills and Lettuce 289
33. Vaccination is Un-American 298
34. As the World Turns—The Continuing Scourge 308
35. Soldiers, the Law and Old-Fashioned Smallpox 330
36. International Public Health 343
37. A New Biological Philosophy 356
38. The Decade of the 1970s—Conflicting Reports 370
39. Stamping Out Smallpox 377
A Glossary of Medicine in the 19th Century 387
Chapter Notes 395
Bibliography 412
Index 419

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Highly recommended”—Choice
  • “Recount[s] the history of smallpox, its spread, effects, and the medical, political, and moral issues of combating the disease around the world”—Reference & Research Book News