October 13, 2011

Reynolds lecture looks at Civil War toll on vaccinations in the South

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Obtaining safe and reliable small pox vaccination material was a serious issue during the American Civil War, especially in the Confederate states. Soldiers were leery of the vaccine and resisted the compulsory vaccination ordered by the government. Vaccination material, often drawn from children’s small pox scabs or even cow udders, was suspect at best. 

The Reynolds Historical Lecture series presents Science, Identity and Southern Medicine: Spurious Vaccination during the American Civil War, 1861-1865, by Shauna Devine, Ph.D., assistant professor and managing editor of the Journal of the History of Medicine at Duke University.

Drawing on more than 600 published and unpublished case reports, drawn largely from the Arnold G. Diethelm Civil War Medicine Collection at UAB Historical Collections, Devine, a former Reynolds Library Fellow, examines the debates surrounding vaccination procedures and practices during the conflict and afterwards in the post-war South.

The lecture is at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, in the Ireland Room, third floor of the Lister Hill Library, 1700 University Blvd. It is free and open to the public. CME’s are available, as are a limited number of box lunches.

The lecture is hosted by the Reynolds Associates and UAB Historical Collections.

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