Success and Publication
The flyleaves and end papers of Bibles were often used to record the births, deaths, and marriages of family members. But this Bible, belonging to the Waterhouse family, was used to record Benjamin Waterhouse's cowpox inoculations of his children, Daniel, Benjamin, Mary, and Elizabeth, and two servants, Samuel Carter and Kesiah Flag, during the summer of 1800, and their subsequent exposures to smallpox by Dr. William Aspinwall. According to Waterhouse, all were again exposed to smallpox seven years later and suffered no ill effects "which was done to convince the faithless, and silence the mischievous."
According to Waterhouse family tradition, these plates, bowl, cider jug and teapot are part of a porcelain service commissioned by Benjamin Waterhouse to commemorate his cowpox vaccination work—the prominent cow motif is an allusion to his experiments.
Benjamin Waterhouse's first pamphlet on the subject of his inoculation work appeared in September, 1800, just a few weeks after the vaccination of the Waterhouse children and servants in the summer. The pamphlet describes his early promotion of Jenner's work and a short appendix advertises Waterhouse's readiness to vaccinate others, based on the success of the tests on his household.
This copy is inscribed to Dr. John Jeffries from Benjamin Waterhouse.
In this companion pamphlet to his original publication just two years earlier, Waterhouse recounts the popularity of smallpox inoculation following his experiments, as well as the consequent appearance of spurious cowpox matter which caused a smallpox outbreak in Marblehead.
In the footnote on page 16, Waterhouse describes the procedure he has developed for vaccination.