Understanding the History of Vaccination

Cartoon satire of a woman being inoculated from cow pox
Gillray, James, 1756-1815, “The Cow-Pock, or, the Wonderful Effects of the New Inoculation! ,” OnView: Digital Collections & Exhibits, accessed October 19, 2020,  http://collections.countway.harvard.edu/onview/items/show/6632

The race to develop a vaccine against Covid-19 has been historic. It is also built on the legacy of research, trials, efficacy, and policy that have come long before it. A rich array of these historical resources are in the collections of the Center for the History of Medicine.

Vaccines: An Evolving History is a research guide designed to highlight these collections. It was created in response to faculty requests from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The guide highlights archival collections, manuscript material, rare books, and objects. Collections span over three hundred years of history, and address diseases from smallpox to the AIDS epidemic. Resources beyond Harvard are also highlighted, including interactive timelines and even podcasts.

Center for the History of Medicine staff are available to assist you with your research needs, even as the Countway Library remains closed to onsite research. To submit a request, please use the Ask Countway form on our website.