The original anti-vax poster

Why Evolution Is True

James Gillray (1756 or 1757-1815) was an English artist, caricaturist and satirist who has been called “the father of the political cartoon”. (Hogarth is another candidate.) Gillray also seemed to be anti-science, as judging from the cartoon below, which expressed the public fear of Edward Jenner’s smallpox vaccination.

The proud owner of the original cartoon below is my old friend Andrew Berry, a lecturer and advisor at Harvard and spouse of Naomi Pierce, Harvard’s Curator of Lepidoptera. They are kindly putting me up in Cambridge for two days.

As I may have reported earlier, Jenner performed the first smallpox vaccination in the late 18th century, but the practice of inoculation, or variolation, in which matter from a smallpox pustule was injected into people, was practiced much earlier in India, China, and the Ottoman Empire.  (People observed that people who survived smallpox were henceforth immune to further bouts of the disease.)

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