Friday, 27 April 2012

A treasure from the Archives...

I have been working in the archives for the last week with Frieda. I’m 14 and have been working here in order to gain experience about the realities of work. I have always been interested in history and this has given me the opportunity to get hands on with things that I have always found curious. The piece I’m writing about today is an example of the fascinating documents I have come in to contact during my time here.

The piece I’m writing about is a letter from Margaret Carpenter to Hugh Percy Dunn. Although there is no record of who either of these people were I have found several medical books written by Dunn. This combined with the fact that this letter was found in the records of the Ross Institute leads me to believe that he worked at the Ross Institute and possibly worked under Ross himself. The letter is about Margaret Carpenter’s own view on how Edwards Jenner’s research on vaccinations was the worst crime ever “committed against nature”. She believed that vaccines would not be a way in which smallpox could be prevented. Smallpox could only be prevented when people stopped eating meat. She backed up her argument by quoting the Bible Gen.9 .4 “you must not eat meat that still has lifeblood in it”. She even went as far as to say that “Blood letting was pardonable [compared to vaccination] because at least it didn’t kill”. This letter is an example of abuse that scientists would have suffered in years gone by and although this women was a probably an extremist it shows how many people doubted Jenner, yet he still persisted. I have enjoyed my time here and I’d like to thank all the people who have helped me.

Adam Haines

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