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Lecture on the Confederate Vaccination Crisis of the Civil War
02-12-2018, 03:17 PM
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Lecture on the Confederate Vaccination Crisis of the Civil War
If you'll be in the Philadelphia area, this free lecture on Saturday (Feb. 17) may interest you:

The Confederate Vaccination Crisis of the Civil War
The Confederate southern states experienced several smallpox epidemics during the American Civil War, blaming the disease on the Union northern states. Confederate doctors responded by vaccinating soldiers but then discovered that some vaccinations were ineffective (“spurious”) and instead spread other diseases, particularly syphilis. This presentation considers how the Confederacy managed vaccinations and tried to solve the numerous spurious cases. His illustrated tale includes the deliberate infection of children on plantations as a source of vaccine, and allegations of vaccination poisoning in the conflict’s only war crimes trial. In a surprising convergence of history, a museum collection, and current disease research, a detective story concludes the presentation!

Robert D. Hicks, PhD, is the director of the Mütter Museum and Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. He also directs the F. C. Wood Institute. Formerly, he supervised exhibits, collections, and educational outreach at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia. He has worked with museum-based education and exhibits for over three decades, primarily as a consultant to historic sites and museums. This work led Robert to obtain a doctorate in maritime history from the University of Exeter, United Kingdom. Concurrent with the museum consulting, Robert worked for the Commonwealth of Virginia as a senior program manager in criminal justice, providing managerial assistance throughout the state. Earlier, he performed criminal justice work in Arizona, and obtained B.A. and M.A. degrees in anthropology and archaeology at the University of Arizona. He also served as a naval officer with the U.S. Naval Security Group. His most recent book is Voyage to Jamestown: Practical Navigation in the Age of Discovery (U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2011).

I plan on attending. The lecture will be held at the Community College of Philadelphia's Center for Business and Industry at the corner of 18th and Callowhill streets in Room C2-28. The college requires visitors to sign in with a photo ID, so if you plan on attending please be sure to bring it. I plan on arriving by train and walking to the college from Suburban Station, but if you want to drive there the college has a parking garage on 17th street which charges $4.

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