First EditionArchive on women's crucial role in the creation and development of vaccines, especially it’s accessibility to children regardless of economic class, and the global eradication of smallpox. Containing 3 early and rare pieces that show how women emerged as a driving force in developing and sharing immunization techniques that continue increasing child survival rates today. Includes 2 scarce first edition books by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu with writing about her experiences bringing inoculation to the Western world, and her advocacy for mothers using inoculation to save their children's lives. Accompanied by a letter to Lady Mary by Lady Margaret Cavendish Bentinck, the curator of an influential scientific collection and a proponent of women’s scientific research. By 1796, Lady Mary's work was advanced by Edward Jenner, who developed a safer method of immunization using a vaccine derived from cowpox.
Having witnessed the lifesaving benefits of immunization while traveling in Turkey, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu made medical history in 1721 when she had her own children inoculated and became the first person to bring inoculation to the West. As one of the first immunization activists in the West, she used her power and influence as a literary pioneer to publish about it, promoting the procedure to combat Britain's smallpox epidemic. This archive's two rare books by Lady Mary contain her writing on smallpox prevention: a 1747 first edition of "Six Town Eclogues" never before sold at auction, which focuses on the hardships women and girls faced when unable to access inoculation; and an 1803 five volume first edition of "The Works of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Wortley Monagu" describing "the introduction of the art of inoculation into this Kingdom" and her time "dedicated to various consultations" about the procedure. Accompanied by a letter to Lady Mary Montagu written by Lady Margaret Cavendish Bentinck, who curated an influential natural science collection and encouraged women's work in science. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the thousands of other women who supported Jenner's vaccine were responsible directly and indirectly for saving tens of thousands of lives. Over the following decades, women were crucial in helping Jenner provide the vaccine to children around the world, and by the 1850's records suggest that in England alone women were responsible for ensuring vaccination for over 30,000 children and for soliciting funding to allow Jenner's clinics to rescue even more. 150 years later, the World Health Organization finally declared smallpox eradicated in 1980. An important archive revealing women's crucial role in the past, present, and future of vaccination.