When smallpox threatened Boston in 1721, Cotton Mather was a leading advocate of inoculation. How did this influential Puritan, best known for his role in the Salem witch trials, become an advocate for scientific medicine? Listen to this week’s episode to find out!
How Cotton Mather saved Boston
- The Bonner map of Boston shows six major smallpox outbreaks from 1630 through 1724.
- Graphs showing how smallpox deaths decreased in 1721, then were virtually eliminated after 1800 are taken from this Harvard paper.
- John Adams describes his own smallpox inoculation in a letter to Abigail in 1764.
This week in Boston history
- Above: Birds-eye view map of the burned district from Boston’s Great Fire on November 9, 1872.
- Below: A purely imaginary view of the fire.