The architecture of Saratoga Springs is remarkable, and the tangible link to our past. However some gems have been lost through the ages, due to fire and folly. One such wonder was the Saratoga Bath House, formerly at 25 Phila Street.
Before its eradication in 1980, smallpox was the most feared disease in many parts of the world. Known as the “king of terrors” and the “disease of diseases” the search for a way to lessen and avoid smallpox was on!
How did vaccination come about? What are vaccination’s connections to smallpox inoculation? And how did news and practice of vaccination spread throughout North America? These questions will be our focus in this second, and final, episode in the Ben Franklin’s World podcast series, “From Inoculation to Vaccination.”
I often watch out for stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) while hiking. As you might guess from its name, brushing against this plant causes a bee sting-like burn that can last for hours. Despite this irritation, humans have used stinging nettles for centuries as food, fiber, and medicine, including as a treatment for arthritis pain. [Read more…] about Stinging Nettles: A Short Primer
Smallpox was the most feared disease in North America and in many parts of the world before its eradication in 1980. So how did early Americans live with smallpox and work to prevent it? How did they help eradicate this terrible disease?
Over the next two episodes of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we’ll explore smallpox in North America. We’ll investigate how smallpox came to North America, how North Americans worked to contain, control, and prevent outbreaks of the disease, and how the story of smallpox is also the story of immunization. [Read more…] about Smallpox in North America: Inoculation to Vaccination
Young Alexander and Elihu Vedder were raised in Schenectady, New York. The family had Dutch roots (their parents were cousins). The elder brother was a physician, the younger a painter. In their career choices they showed an outward-looking attitude, cherishing the challenge of foreign experiences while assimilating the riches of cultural exchange. [Read more…] about Veeder (Vedder) Family in New York, Rome and Yokohama
Grave robbing has a long history in religion and science. As monasteries and churches were repositories of relics, religious institutions competed to take possession of bones, teeth, or skulls. Members of the clergy supported grave robbers – long before the word came into circulation – if a body, or parts thereof, were worthy of reverence. [Read more…] about Museums, Grave Robbing & The Dissection of Boxing ‘Giant’ Charles Freeman
As if today’s war on science wasn’t bad enough, it seems researchers have been courting further bad press by admitting they’ve spent countless hours on lunacy studies. To clarify, this research is on lunar effects on our behavior and sleep – I don’t know of any work being done to analyze sheer foolishness and irrational acts, the other kind of lunacy. Given the events that dominated the news this January, though, maybe that would be a fair line of inquiry. [Read more…] about The Science of Lunar Lunacy
The positive impacts of the Delaware & Hudson Canal on Sullivan County were indisputable. With its opening in 1828, the 108-mile-long waterway made it possible for the first time to easily transport goods in and out of the area, and directly led to the growth of the tanning and bluestone industries. Entire communities, such as Barryville, Wurtsboro and Phillipsport, owe their very existence to the D & H, and while the canal was in operation, each was among the largest communities in the county in terms of commerce and population. [Read more…] about One Not-So-Benign Influence Of The D&H Canal
The culture of ancient Rome banned the moving or dividing of corpses. Christians of the third and fourth centuries maintained the desire for proper burial. A call for corporeal integrity runs throughout medieval culture. Bodies intact were ready for the Last Judgment when soul and body were reunited. [Read more…] about Napoleon’s Private Parts On Fifth Avenue: A Cautionary Tale
This week on The Historians Podcast, Jennet Conant discusses her book The Great Secret: The Classified World War II Disaster That Launched the War on Cancer. Also heard is film maker Nick Spark who lobbied for U.S. government recognition of medical doctor Stewart Alexander whose work chronicling the Bari disaster in southern Italy was the impetus to developing chemotherapy. [Read more…] about Secrets, Poison Gas and Chemotherapy (Podcast)