Spurious Vaccination in the Civil War: December 13 Talk

Robert Hicks in Civil War surgeon uniform

Join us December 13 at 6:30pm for an illustrated talk about smallpox vaccination in the American Civil War.

Several smallpox epidemics swept through the Confederate states during the war. Southerners blamed the outbreaks on the northern states. Confederate doctors attempted to prevent smallpox spread by vaccinating soldiers, but then discovered that some vaccinations were ineffective (“spurious”) and spread other diseases, particularly syphilis. Director of the Mütter Museum and Historical Medical Library, and William Maul Measey Chair for the History of Medicine, Robert Hicks, PhD, will discuss how the Confederacy managed vaccinations and tried to address the problem of spurious vaccination. His illustrated talk includes the use of children on plantations as a source of vaccine and allegations of vaccination poisoning in the conflict’s only war crimes trial.

Hicks has previously written on the problem of spurious vaccination in the Civil War in this blog post. His December 13 talk expands on this research and will be richly illustrated with period images.

Register for the talk here.

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
19 S. 22 Street