Second Annual History of Medicine Program at the South Shore Hospital November 19, 2014

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A History of Inoculation and Vaccination Program at South Shore Hospital

November 19, 2014   7-8:30PM   Dr. David Jones, Harvard Medical School

The Abigail Adams Historical Society has partnered with the South Shore Hospital to present a new historical medical program Abigail and John Adams and the History of Inoculation and Vaccination, on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at Paul Snell Conference Center, South Shore Hospital, 55 Fogg Road, Weymouth.

“Tis a pestilence that walketh in Darkness…” — Abigail Adams, July 30 1776

In writing to her husband in Philadelphia, Abigail Adams recounted the terrifying presence of smallpox in the town of Boston. In the wake of the 11-month siege by the British army, Abigail made the decision to inoculate herself and her four young children against the dread disease. Inoculation was not without risk and controversy at the time, but Abigail felt it her duty to seek out this protection for her family. John anxiously awaited news of the 4 to 6 week process of inoculation from Abigail, much as Abigail had awaited news of John’s own inoculation 12 years earlier in the months before their marriage in 1764. Smallpox was a reality of 18th century life, a reality all too real for Abigail and John Adams.

Advances in medicine have provided us with more effective treatments of infectious diseases than the methods available to Colonial American doctors. Two experts, in the fields of medicine and the history of medicine, will offer their insights into the evolution of inoculation and vaccination from the 18th century to today. Professor David Jones, M.D., Ph.D. the A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine at Harvard University, and an expert from South Shore Hospital will educate attendees on the past, present and future of the disease and its treatments.

Admission to the Inoculation and Vaccination program is free. Donations are gratefully accepted to fund the ongoing preservation of Abigail Adams Birthplace. For more information about the Snell Conference Center at South Shore Hospital, visit

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