Talk:Edward Jenner

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Former good article Edward Jenner was one of the Natural sciences good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
March 3, 2006 Good article nominee Listed
May 10, 2007 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article
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Edward Jenner was either my (maternal) grandmother's maternal grandfather or her mother's maternal grandfather. I'm sorry I don't have more information than that because society is male-dominated, the wife's family doesn't matter. I believe my grandmother has some family heirlooms and perhaps a few oral stories, but they would be unpublished and therefore not credible. Joanna.Licata (talk) 04:00, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Publish them. Midgley (talk) 11:39, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Buildings and Monuments[edit]

It is interesting to note a private school in Gloucester is named after Edward Jenner. Source: Perhaps it is relevant to include this in the list of places named after him? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:51, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Failed GA[edit]

Failed because: requires references. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ike9898 (talkcontribs) 14:08, 26 February 2006 (UTC) Resubmitted with references sorted out... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Midgley (talkcontribs) 23:34, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Delisting GA - still lacking citations. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:05, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
It has rather a lot of citations, and no markers indicating something uncited. Was there something particular? Midgley (talk) 21:30, 6 April 2009 (UTC)


I'm a little concerned that this page which should be about a person, Edward Jenner, is being used to express an antivaccination stance. As a temporary 'fix' to balance things up I've added a link to conventional medical opinion.

However, the discussion doesn't belong on the Jenner page! I suggest replacing both links with a 'See also' pointing to the vaccine page where the arguments for and against are legitimately presented. If we want to move the pro and anti external links there, that would be more appropriate.

Let's use the Jenner page to tell people about Jenner. Chris Jefferies, 13th October 2003

You're right. I was probably being overly solicitous in not merely deleting propaganda links. The page already links to vaccination: you should probably just go ahead and delete any links not directly related to Jenner. -- Someone else 22:41, 13 Oct 2003 (UTC)
Thanks - You've encouraged me to just do it. So it's done! Chris Jefferies, 14th October 2003

Looking back (Off Topic)[edit]

I initially made this entry for Jenner back when I was in 12th grade. 4 (or is it 5) years later, it's nice to see a few of my lines still untouched from edits :) -- Sid M. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 12:01, 6 July 2004 (UTC)

Pointing to Smallpox may be sensible as well. I thought the museum is in Jenner's house, rather than Phipps' - Phipps was the garderner's boy. (reasonable to regard both as living there perhaps, but it might be excessively egalitarian). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 23:01, 7 November 2004 (UTC)

There is a wing at St George's Hospital called jenner wing as well as a bust. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Eze man (talkcontribs) 14:21, 28 July 2006 (UTC)[edit]

" has some similar information. Has it been copied, or has it done the copying? Because the information is in fact, exactly the same! Anyone with information on this please say something. Thankyou. 08:06, 11 November 2005 (UTC)" this comment was on the article page. --Nanouk 08:29, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Bad URL: The correct link is here and, indeed, there still remains enough barely-altered material (primarily intended for young students) from the History Learning Site in the Wikipedia Edward Jenner article to prevent it from seriously being considered a Good Article. Athænara 10:22, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

William Harvey[edit]

There's a bizarre statement in the opening paragraph concerning advice that William Harvey supposedly gave (directly) to Jenner - did Harvey have access to a time machine that allowed him to travel 100 years into the future in order to meet Jenner? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:47, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for spotting that. Harvey's famous advice _repeated_ to Jenner by Hunter. Midgley 21:26, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Time to rewrite this.[edit]


In the years 1770-1791 at least six people had tested independently the possibility of using the cowpox vaccine as an immunization for smallpox in humans for the first time: an English person whose identity is unknown, Mrs. Sevel (Germany), Mr. Jensen (Germany), the English farmer Benjamin Jesty (in 1774), Mrs. Rendall (England), the German teacher Peter Plett in 1791 (see source: Sudhoffs Archiv, vol. 90 (2), p. 219-232, 2006, Stuttgart, Germany). In 1796 it was the English physician Edward Jenner to do the same and to fihgt successfully for the acceptance and acknowledgement of this method of immunization. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:39, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Copied from another talk page, I recalled putting it on. (Annotated now)

From the Jenner Museum (which is in his house an hour North of here) "At the age of 14 he was apprenticed for seven years to Mr Daniel Ludlow, a surgeon of Chipping Sodbury" A note on the British: in a sort of reverse snobbery doctors who go on to specialise in surgery and obtain the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons stop calling themselves Doctor and start being Mr or Miss. Weird, I know, but very historical. I'd also like to see some definite attribution to the chattier bits of that passage - "...ideas were foolish..." etc

The area of the country would then have had lots of cows and people milking them. Dr Jenner was clearly a smart chap, and associated with others like Lister and Humphrey Davy (who sort of invented Anaesthesia with Nitrous Oxide but got busy doing other things and didn't follow through; meanwhile Lister was inventing _not dying of surgery_), and I favour the view that he heard from other people that if you had had cowpox you didn't die of Smallpox.

I'd tend to assume that Mr Jesty of Worth Matravers (3 hours drive East) would have been as reliable as most of us, if I have a chance I'll go and look on his grave and in the Parish records, but don't hold your breath.

Jesty lived and farmed at Yetminster at the time he vaccinated his wife and her children. Later he movd to Worth Matravers Midgley 22:31, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Some anti-vacination sites describe Jenner as a charlatan and apothecary and Mr Jesty as ignorant - these are just efforts to devalue their rather clever work in thinking and acting (See Anti-vaccinationists), and it is quite clear from here that Jenner was a successful General Practitioner and surgeon, appointed to be a magistrate and practicing in purpose built premises some of the time, in favour with the Royal Society (whose proceedings are available on the Web now, I'll have a look for him in them (as of last year, the relevant section had not been placed on the Web. I could go up and ask, but London is bit of a trip from here.) ) and while they probably would have not instantly accepted early work, I think it would have been sent back for more science rather than rejected.

From the publications he turned out he seems to have been a careful scientist, and in the company he was keeping I think there would have been notice taken if he was not.

Adrian Midgley, GP Exeter UK. (Jesty seems to have done well-enough as a farmer, judging by his position in the churchyard where he and his wife are buried). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Midgley (talkcontribs) 14:39, 24 January 2006 (UTC)

Version from Vaccination

At the age of thirteen, Jenner was apprenticed to Dr Ludlow, locally. He observed that people who caught cowpox while working with cows were known not to catch smallpox. He assumed a causal connection. The idea was not taken up by Dr. Ludlow at that time. After Jenner returned from medical school in London, a smallpox epidemic struck his home town of Berkeley, England. He advised the local cow workers to be inoculated. The farmers told him that cowpox prevented smallpox. This confirmed his childhood suspicion, and he studied cowpox further.

In 1796 Sarah Nelmes, a local milkmaid, contracted cowpox and went to Jenner for treatment. Jenner took the opportunity to test his theory. He inoculated James Phipps, the eight year-old son of his gardener, not with smallpox but with cowpox. After an extremely weak bout of cowpox, James recovered. Jenner then tried to infect James with smallpox but nothing happened — the boy was immune to smallpox.

Jenner reported his observations to the Royal Society. Further work was suggested, and Jenner published a series of 23 cases, including his son Edward, none suffered severely from smallpox. Two years later a society to oppose vaccination had been established in Boston Massachusetts - an indication of rapid spread and deep interest. By 1800 Jenner's work had been published in all of the major European languages. The process was performed all over Europe and the United States. The death rate was close to zero with the process, which became known as vaccination and was continued to around 1974 in the UK. A typical death rate at that time was roughly one per million, making vaccination against smallpox with vaccinia the most dangerous immunisation widely provided in modern times. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Midgley (talkcontribs) 15:16, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Royal Soc records[edit]

Warning: One or more links in this section (all five on Royal Society website) hazardous to use. Proceed at your own risk. If what they are intended to source is at all useful, they should be repaired or replaced; if this is not possible, they should be removed. Æ. 10:22, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't see a hazard. Is it possible that the problem may have been local to the reporter rather than the Royal Society? Midgley 10:10, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Buried: The chancel of Berkeley parish church, Gloucestershire (from RS)(also RCP) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Midgley (talkcontribs) 12:51, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Hail from the Chief![edit]

Letter from Thomas Jefferson

3rd president of the United States: 1801-1809

Letter To Dr. Edward Jenner On his Discovery of the Small 
 Pox Vaccine - Monticello, May 14, 1806

        _To Dr. Edward Jenner_
        _Monticello, May 14, 1806_

        SIR, -- I have received a copy of the evidence at large
respecting the discovery of the vaccine inoculation which you have
been pleased to send me, and for which I return you my thanks.
Having been among the early converts, in this part of the globe, to
its efficiency, I took an early part in recommending it to my
countrymen.  I avail myself of this occasion of rendering you a
portion of the tribute of gratitude due to you from the whole human
family.  Medicine has never before produced any single improvement of
such utility.  Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood was
a beautiful addition to our knowledge of the animal economy, but on a
review of the practice of medicine before and since that epoch, I do
not see any great amelioration which has been derived from that
discovery.  You have erased from the calendar of human afflictions
one of its greatest.  Yours is the comfortable reflection that
mankind can never forget that you have lived.  Future nations will
know by history only that the loathsome small-pox has existed and by
you has been extirpated.

        Accept my fervent wishes for your health and happiness and
assurances of the greatest respect and consideration. (Are Jefferson's letters on file somewhere to cross-reference directly?) lists two archive sites for Jefferson's papers. He had a lot of correspondence.

A photo of the statue (I've requested permission to use one or more of those from the owner, failing that I'll take one or ask a colleague to) Midgley 02:03, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Picture in place - does anyone know where to find T Jefferson's letter as a microfilm, image on the web or certified text? He and Dr Benjamin Waterhouse of Cambridge Mass. corresponded about vaccination, and appear to have sorted out the transport arrangements after a supply went wrong in hot weather. Midgley 21:29, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Attack on Jenner[edit]

  • 1885 The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

"JENNER, jealous of Pearson, was anxious to supersede the Institution for the Inoculation of the Vaccine Pock established by him in 1799; but Jenner was what Scots call "a feckless creature," whose wishes rarely issue in fruit. " ... But the ease-loving Jenner was not to be drawn." Scurrilous crap. Midgley 04:51, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Pearson et al[edit]

From papers at the Roy. Coll. Physicians (and website) (and Brittanica) George Pearson was one of a few London doctors Jenner provided vaccination material to. He came up with the idea of arm to arm vaccination - which has some plausibility and was later used to take Vaccinia to the Philipines in the Balmis Expedition, but would have been dangerous if bacterial superinfection got transferred that way, and of course hugely dangerous if the lesion used was actually a Smallpox one. Jenner's work was largely standardising and productionising the process, as you'd expect from a scientist and FRS he would see the need to be particular.

Another one, Wiliam Woodville, a physician in a Smallpox hospital, failed to prevent contamination of the vaccine with Smallpox - thus it became Variolation with the attendant 2% death rate. That isn't surprising, given the lack of a real germ theory at that time, and the obvious ease of Smallpox contamination within that environment. Pasteur and then Lister sorted it out half a century later.

There was a certain amount of fuss over this... and neither remains notable except to the anti-vaccinationists, then and now. Midgley 12:44, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Flying a balloon and meeting a young lady[edit] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Midgley (talkcontribs) 00:32, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Picture of Kingscote Park. I may pop up there and take a picture. Or is soemone else nearer to hand? It is some sort of retreat and you can get married there Midgley 23:36, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Jenner may have used contaminated cowpox[edit]

Razzell 'the conquest of smallpox' and other sources claim that it is likely that Jenner used smallpox contaminated cowpox. They also claim that, in fact, deep into the 1800's people were actually variolating rather than vaccinating because of this and similar contaminations.

more information also on medline, in many journal articles - for a more general audience 'The speckled monster' by Jennifer Carrell —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 22:51, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

I suspect that was conflating an account about one of the early adopters after Jenner, who worked in a Smallpox hopspital and would have been variolating previously. It was certainly one of the risks. A reference might be useful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Midgley (talkcontribs) 16:04, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Recovery of article[edit]

Someone added the phrase "Jenner is a tosser.Jenner is a tosser.Jenner is a tosser" over and over again on the page. I deleted the vandalizing segment. Can anyone trace the roots of it and report the person- I don't know how. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Greenodonata (talkcontribs) 18:49, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

As Greenodonata noted above, the Edward Jenner article was vandalised a few times recently. Most of the vandalism was intentional, some seemed accidental, e.g. part of the caption for the Kensington bronze inexplicably remained. A few minutes ago, I recovered the most recent legitimate version I found (08:59, 22 November 2006 (UTC), Midgley). I'll now return to the history to see what legitimate additions since then might also need replacing. Athænara 09:48, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot to mention that the vandal was, who has apparently been very busy ... –Æ. 09:56, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Somebody put "Hey" and "Re-Re" randomly throughout the article. What's with people and vandelizing this article? Also, I saw, and he's been temporarily banned (after being QUITE busy).edited by Thomas Arnold 18:01, 4 December 2007 (UTC).

To other editors of this article: If you added something recently which enhanced it, please check the article soon to see if your addition was lost and needs to be added again. I didn't detect any. –Æ. 11:43, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Someone needs to spend some time and remove all the un-needed HTML commands and generally improve the article.

  • Reverted to the latest good page I could find.--Shark Fin 101 16:04, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Nah, brah...nah. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:19, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Possible link to Edward Jenner's items on “Himetop – The History of medicine topographical database”[edit]

I suggest that somebody, interested in this page, could insert an external link to the following page describing, with pictures, some Jenner’s memories:

I don’t do it myself because I’m also an Administrator of this site (Himetop) and it could be a violation of the Wikipedia Conflict of Interest policy. Thanks for your attention.

Luca Borghi (talk) 13:19, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

This should probably be checked[edit]

The last two sentences under the smallpox section: "Edward Jenner was said to be homosexual but the investigation is still under way. Others say he was a child molester because of his work with many children." Both statements seem strange, unrelated, oddly worded, and baseless. They are also full of weasel words, and cite no sources. Someone who knows more than I do might want to change this... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:48, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Yes, yet more vandalism, now reverted. I don't understand why this article is subject to such attacks! Time to semi-protect it? SNALWIBMA ( talk - contribs ) 13:26, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Merger Proposal[edit]

The article James Phipps has remained a stub since it was started in 2007. Virtually all the content at James Phipps can be found within the Edward Jenner article. There are only three other articles that link to James Phipps. The motivation for the merge proposal is that there is another notable person by this name that I wish to begin an article at that name. —Preceding unsigned comment added by SauliH (talkcontribs) 06:36, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

That seems very sensible, but you'd want a redirect to Jenner for James Phipps, so you'd need a soft redirect/disambiguation page. Given the amount of material directly on Phipps, the redirect is going to contain most of it anyway. Midgley (talk) 06:21, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Although notable for one reason only, James Phipps is notable in his own right (over 115,000 google results for "James Phipps Jenner"), over 1,070 google scholar results, and certainly more notable than a significant proportion of the topics on Wiki. As there hasn't been any movement on this merge proposal for the last 3 years, I'm removing the merge tags. LT90001 (talk) 06:21, 29 August 2013 (UTC)


I've put in a request for semi-protection to counter the chronic vandalism here dating back to 2006. --Lockley (talk) 21:35, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Western Point of View[edit]

Innoculation was long discovered and used widely in the Ottoman Empire. Why is Edward Jenner credited as the pioneer of this treatment? He hasn't done anything apart from presenting an old cure to the western world and all the information he needed was given to him by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:21, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Because Jenner used vaccinia virus and not smallpox virus from infected humans. And he based his experiments on a scientific hypothesis, which he tested—perhaps unethically by 21st century standards. All the information was not given to him by her Ladyship; she saw the use of variolation, that is, the use of smallpox virus, not vaccinia. Having said this, Jenner might not have been the first to use vaccination instead of inoculation (variolation), but this is a separate issue. Graham Colm (talk) 22:30, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
It is worth keeping the article clear (which I think it is at present) on the difference between inoculation and vaccination. It might be laid on a little thicker, even. Midgley (talk) 11:58, 25 December 2011 (UTC)


Jenner was elected to the Royal Society for his work on the cuckoo, a significant piece of natural history or biological science. I know that was in this page at a previous time. Then he established vaccination, another large work. The Cuckoo would have no place in a page about vaccination, but it certainly does in one about Jenner. There's no mention on the talk page of a decision to remove it, so where did it go, and shall we have it back? Midgley (talk) 12:04, 25 December 2011 (UTC) contains it.
It also seems worth recording who he married, or is there an argument against that in biographies? THey met in a balloon-related incident. Midgley (talk) 12:10, 25 December 2011 (UTC)

Request for Jefferson letter and other materials on Waterhouse[edit]

The Harvard Medical School's Countaway Library owns most of the Waterhouse materials (ironic since they forced him to resign in 1812) and did a bicentennial exhibition for which this website was also created. Visual sources on it include gifts from Jenner to Waterhouse, and several facsimiles of letters, cover pages of books, and correspondence (including some with Jenner). If photographs the letters between Jenner and Waterhouse, and/or President Jefferson and Waterhouse (or possibly, Jenner?) exist, that would be the source for them; See:

I hope that's helpful. (talk) 05:23, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

Prior content in this article duplicated one or more previously published sources. The material was copied from: Copied or closely paraphrased material has been rewritten or removed and must not be restored, unless it is duly released under a compatible license. (For more information, please see "using copyrighted works from others" if you are not the copyright holder of this material, or "donating copyrighted materials" if you are.) For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or published material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use copyrighted publications as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. While we appreciate contributions, we must require all contributors to understand and comply with these policies. Thank you. MER-C 12:35, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Actually, there are no suggestions to go with the delisting as a good article[edit]

despite the assertion in the box at th etop of the page that there are. WHere would the record of the decision and the basis for it be found? THis looks like a failed process. Midgley (talk) 00:21, 30 September 2012 (UTC)

Hi, I came because of the GA request template. The process for granting articles GA status has changed since the beginning. My understanding is that originally anyone could do it just by saying that the though it was at that standard (like C and B class). It was then decided to make it a more formal process and all the current GAs were reassessed and the WP:GAN system was introduced. I was not here when all this went down so I might have some facts wrong (ask at WT:GAN if you are interested as there are more informed editors there).
Anyway looking at the talk page history it was failed as a GA with this edit.[1] citing references as the concern. You renominated it after sorting out the references here.[2] It was then given GA status with this edit[3]. The old failed template wasn't removed until this edit[4] which converted it to a since deleted template. In 2007 it was converted into our current format using an article history template.[5] The edit you are probably looking for is this one where it was failed again due to a lack of citations.[6] It did not follow the proper reassessment process, but to be honest I am not sure one even existed back then.
Since this happened a long time ago (in internet years anyway) I would suggest you either nominate it again at WP:GAN so it can get a new review. I would recommend a WP:Peer review first however, as they can help sort out any issues first. AIRcorn (talk) 04:26, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Good idea. Midgley (talk) 18:53, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 24 April 2013[edit]


Please could I ask you to amend the listing you have for Edward Jenner? Your current entry states:

At the age of 14 he was apprenticed for seven years to Mr Daniel Ludlow, a surgeon ofChipping Sodbury,

I have discovered that Jenner was actually apprenticed to an Apothecary, George Hardwick and I have a copy of the apprenticeship deed sourced through to support this. This is available if so required

I have for the last 4 years been working on a Commemorative Plaque Scheme for Chipping Sodbury and have worked with English Heritage, The Jenner Museum and on research for the plaque commemorating Jenner. Local historians always belived that he had been apprenticed to Ludlow however they had no data to support this theory and there were at the time 4 Daniel Ludlows, all medical practitioners.

No doubt Ludlow would have at some point shared the services of Jenner as an apprentice it is now clear that it was in fact Hardwick that took him on.

Kind regards


Mark Lloyd PR Chair Rotary Club of Chippign Sodbury

Proprietor Rounceval House Hotel 64 Rounceval Street Chipping Sodbury Bristol BS37 6AR Lloydiepie (talk) 11:32, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

We can't add that just yet, unfortunately. Per our policy, Wikipedia:No original research, we're not able to publish claims until they have been evaluated in sources that conform to our reliable sources guideline. The best way forward with this would be to alert an historian or two, in the hope that your evidence can be included in a scholarly paper or biography. Sorry, I realise this may seem a little absurd but it is a pretty rock solid part of our working model here, to enforce some degree of reliability on our articles by getting scholarly publishers and journals to do the fact-checking and interpretation.
Congratulations on your sleuthing, by the way, that's an amazing bit of citizen scholarship. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 12:19, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

False Information[edit]

"Jenner inoculated Phipps in both arms that day, subsequently producing in Phipps a fever and some uneasiness, but no full-blown infection. Later, he injected Phipps with variolous material, the routine method of immunization at that time. No disease followed. The boy was later challenged with variolous material and again showed no sign of infection."

Sorry, but this suggests that Jenner injected smallpox matter into James Phipps on the same day (14 May 1796) that he was vaccinated using cowpox, which is not true. I have checked numerous other sources and they all mention that Phipps was ill for nine days, but on the tenth day he felt better again. They also mention that Jenner came back with smallpox matter on the 1st of July, 1796, to be tested on Phipps.

Please consider amending the article, and I hope my points were helpful. Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shate1234 (talkcontribs) 08:08, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

You might be misinterpreting "later". 1 July 1796 is later than 14th May 1796. You'd be offering an improvement in precision there. Midgley (talk) 17:25, 14 December 2014 (UTC)