Medical Press and Circular, Volume 73: 461 (June 6, 1877)
The Early Medical History of America

From a recent United States' publication we learn that the first permanent hospital was established at Philadelphia, in 1752, and was aided by a grant of £2,000 from the Colonial Assembly. Its establishment was owing to the suggestion of Dr. Thomas Bond, who became its superintendent, and, we believe, was the first clinical lecturer on medicine in America. The first medical school was commenced in Philadelphia, in 1768, which was closed during the Revolution. The first medical degrees conferred in America were by King's College, New York, in 1769. The first medical work was "A Brief Guide on Small Pox and Measles," by Thomas Thatcher, of Massachusetts, published in 1677. Dr. Zabdiel Boylson, of Boston, first introduced the practice of inoculation for the small-pox into the country, by inoculating his own son, thirteen years of age, and two coloured servants. This was on the 27th of June, 1721, only two months after the inoculation of the daughter of the celebrated Lady Wortley Montague, the first that was practised in England, and certainly before any knowledge of the latter case could have reached Boston. Dr. Beekman Van Buren, as physician to the alms-house, was the first physician (says Dr. J. W. Francis) who introduced the practice of inoculation for the small-pox into New York public institutions. In 1781 the Massachusetts Medical Society was incorporated, being the first medical society formed in America.

The Discovery of Vaccination

Dr. Huillet, medical officer in charge at Pondicherry, has availed himself of a sojourn there to verify the truth, as to whether vaccination was practised in India in very remote periods, and he has found the mention of variola and cow-pox in a work, attributed to Dharwantari, who lived many years before Hippocrates.

William Bruce, consul at Bushira, believes that vaccination was for a long time practised in Persia, and Humboldt says, that for a number of years the inhabitants of the Cordilleras had noticed the preservative effects of vaccine.

Without doubt, the ancient author of Sataya Grantham is entitled to priority, but it was a Frenchman, Rabaut Ponniner, brother of Rabaut St. Etienne, Protestant minister at Massilargues, near Lunel, who discovered in 1784 that inoculation from the teat of a cow was a preventative against small-pox. He communicated his idea to two Englishmen, Ireland and Pugh, who spoke of it to Jenner. Mr. Ireland subsequently wrote to M. Rabaut, who, according to the Journal de Therapeutique, for May, 1877, declared himself satisfied.