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"Memoir of Benjamin Page, M.D.", The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal (Vol. 33, no. 9)
Oct 1, 1845
Location of original: Countway Rare Books, Harvard University
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Page 170



Memoir of Benjamin Page, MD  

that place, which was then under the superintendence of Woodbridge Odlin, and which has ever been one of the most celebrated institutions in New England for the thoroughness of its instruction, and the character of its pupils. His professional studies were pursued under the direction of his father, and the celebrated Dr. Kettredge, of Andover, Mass., a physician and surgeon that time of extensive practice and distinguished reputation. He began his professional career at Hallowell, in 1791, and here pursued it, "in season and out of season," with an uncompromising diligence and success for more than half a century.

In 1793 he went to Boston to place himself in the hands of Dr. Aspinwall, to be inoculated for the smallpox, in a hospital which had just been established in Brookline. Finding it closed on his arrival, he proceeded to Dunbarton for the same object. Disappointed here, also, and zealous and determined in the object he had in view, he repaired to his uncle's Ware, where he and another young physician, and several of the family, submitted to smallpox inoculation, and remained in close confinement about a month ; passing an ordeal which at that time was regarded as among the severest and most perilous to which youth or manhood could be subjected. To show how little apprehension was entertained, however, by the subject of this memoir, he used to relate that he his companion passed the whole of their confinement very cheerfully, and entertained themselves agreeably with music, &c., most of the time--he playing the flute with considerable taste and execution, and his medical companion the violin.

After his recovery from smallpox, Dr. Page retained to Hallowell to resume his practice, and with the intention of opening a smallpox hospital upon a little island in what is now called Alliston's lake, in Winthrop, a few miles west of the Kennebec. While matters were in progress, however, for this enterprise, he was furnished with some vaccine matter by his most intimate and attached friend, Benjamin Vaughan, Esq., who had just received it directly from the hands of Dr. Jenner, of London. He immediately made use of it, and was the first American physician, be it known, who applied the vaccine virus to the arm of the human subject in this country. Great was his disappointment, however, upon finding the matter dry and inert, more especially as a portion the same parcel which had been sent to Boston proved operative, and gave to a distinguished medical philosopher of the times the enviable reputation which he himself would otherwise have obtained. A few days subsequently he received another parcel from this estimable friend Dr. Jackson, of Boston, and availing himself also of fresh matter from the arm of a lady who had been vaccinated there, and who is since allied by marriage to his family, he renewed his efforts with success, and was the means of thus early distributing this great blessing of mankind through the whole circle of his practice. The success of the vaccine superseded the necessity of a smallpox hospital, and although considerable expense was incurred in the enterprise, it was abandoned almost as soon as conceived.

In 1796 he married Abigail Butler, of Newburyport, a lady of great personal beauty, and who to many polite accomplishments, joined the

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