Edward Jenner's tobacco box, Europe, 1820-1821
This tobacco box was owned by the pioneer of smallpox vaccination, Edward Jenner (1749-1823). Covered in leather, the box is decorated with Masonic symbols, including the compass and ruler. Jenner was a Freemason from 1804 onwards and his initials and the date, 26 January 1821, suggest the box may well have been presented to him by his Masonic colleagues. The decoration also includes his family crest.
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Glossary: tobacco box
Small box used for carrying smoking or chewing tobacco, especially those with unattached fitted covers. For similar box having a hinged lid instead of an unattached, fitted cover, use "snuffbox."
The introduction of vaccine into the body for the purpose of inducing immunity. Coined originally to apply to the injection of smallpox vaccine, the term has come to mean any immunising procedure in which vaccine is injected.
Smallpox is an infectious virus unique to humans. It results in a characteristic skin rash and fluid-filled blisters. After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 1800s and 1900s, the World Health Organisation certified the eradication of smallpox in 1979. Smallpox is the only human infectious disease to have been completely wiped out.