Boylston, Zabdiel

Boylston, Zabdiel, 1679–1766, American physician, b. Brookline, Mass. He was privately educated in medicine and settled in Boston. In an epidemic of smallpox in 1721 he was persuaded by Cotton Mather to inoculate, thus introducing the practice to the United States. Beginning with his son and two slaves, he inoculated over 240 persons, all but six of whom survived. Public sentiment, however, was against the experiment, and the lives of both Boylston and Mather were threatened. In 1724, Boylston visited England, and his Historical Account of the Small-Pox Inoculated in New England was published there in 1726.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Medicine: Biographies