Did you know that founding couples such as George and Martha Washington, John and Abigail Adams, and James and Dolley Madison endured tragic and sometimes frequent episodes with illness and disease?
Jeanne Abrams, Professor at the University of Denver University Libraries, joins us to discuss the world of 18th-century medicine and her recent book, Revolutionary Medicine: The Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with an historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
In this episode we chat with Jeanne Abrams, Professor at the University of Denver University Libraries, about health and wellness in 18th-century America.
Using examples from her recent book, Revolutionary Medicine: The Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health, Jeanne leads us through an exploration of the world of 18th-century medicine.
She discusses how early Americans understood sickness and health and the role that illness and disease played in the lives of George and Martha Washington, John and Abigail Adams, James and Dolley Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.
What You’ll Discover
- What Americans living in the 18th century understood about disease and how to prevent it
- What the most common diseases in 18th-century America were and information about them
- What inoculation is and the controversy that surrounded it
- How 18th-century doctors treated disease
- Information about the 1793 Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia
- Details about the death of George Washington
- Why 18th-century doctors like Benjamin Rush believed bleeding was an effective treatment for illness
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Jeanne Abrams
- Revolutionary Medicine: The Founding Fathers and Mothers in Sickness and in Health
- Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail: A History in the American West
- Jeanne's University Webpage
Time Warp Question
- What might have happened if George Washington had not ordered the inoculation of the Continental Army against smallpox?
Do you have a question, comment, or suggestion?
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