Recently, members of the Welch Library staff had the opportunity to hear Christine Ruggere (sitting on table), Curator of the Historical Collection for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, give an informal talk about the Smallpox Exhibit currently on display at the Welch Library. Christine gave us all enormous insight into the history of the disease, and also provided background information on the famous John Singer Sargent portrait of the “Four Doctors,” and also his portrait of Mary Elizabeth Garrett. Mary Elizabeth Garrett was a trailblazer in many ways, and she made groundbreaking contributions to Johns Hopkins Hospital. As a supporter and advocate for women’s rights in the medical profession, she inserted herself into the politics surrounding this issue.
The Exhibit, which has received national recognition, provides a look at the beginning of the global smallpox eradication campaign, and concludes with the end of the disease.
Christine also gave a walking tour --- explaining the importance of the instruments used to cure Smallpox, and how they were actually developed and implemented.
If you have the opportunity to drop by Welch to view the Exhibit, you won’t be disappointed. The collection of historical artifacts and documents are well worth seeing, and collectively they paint a vivid picture of a disease that, in the not too distant past, had a stranglehold of many populations around the world.
The Welch Library Communications Team