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September 1964

The Fascinating Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: 1689-1762

Arch Surg. 1964;89(3):554-558. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1964.01320030144025

A singularly fascinating woman—beautiful, intellectual, and of unusual wit and charm—Lady Mary Wortley Montagu is of interest to the medical profession because of her introduction of inoculation for smallpox in England after having observed the practice of, and experiment on her own son, while at Adrianople, Turkey, in 1717.1

It is evident that her sponsorship of inoculation antedated the work of Edward Jenner, who was not born until 1749.2 Although there was controversy as to Jenner's discovery in 1796, the support of the Fleece Inn Medical Society, of which he was a member, served as the proving ground for his theory and application of the vaccine.3

Lady Mary was born in 1689, the daughter of Evelyn Pierrepont, Esquire (later succeeding to the Earldom of Kingston) and Lady Mary (Fielding) who was the daughter of the third Earl of Denbigh.

She was well endowed with gentility, wealth, and an

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