Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Smallpox at Valley Forge: Washington’s Campaign Against an Infectious Killer (Virtual)

April 23 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

This lecture examines the effects of smallpox and variolation on the Continental Army during the American Revolution, with a focus on the 1777-1778 winter encampment at Valley Forge. An overview of smallpox disease is provided and its impact on North American armies and 18th century strategies to mitigate the illness are examined. We explore how Washington’s own experience with smallpox infection influenced his decision to protect his troops through variolation, an early form of vaccination. The skepticism and resistance that Washington encountered are investigated as modern parallels are considered. The talk concludes with lessons learned for future campaigns should smallpox reemerge from the last remaining vials, currently held by the USA and Russia.

About the Speaker: John M. Pisciotta is an associate professor in the Biology Department at West Chester University. He received a BA in biology with a minor in history from Eckerd College in 1998 and a Master of Science from the University of South Florida in 2001. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in 2007 from Johns Hopkins University where he studied malaria. Dr. Pisciotta conducted research fellowships at the University of Maryland and Penn State prior to joining West Chester University in 2012.

Register here for this pay-as-you-wish event

Admission: Pay as You Wish! Your donation is greatly appreciated. All proceeds benefit the development of future programming and the preservation of the History Center and its collections. The History Center is home to over 750,000 manuscripts, 100,000 photographs, and 70,000 artifacts. Your donation helps us to preserve and share those resources.

Presentation is via Zoom, and will be recorded and available for 7 days for all registered participants. We will email out a Zoom link the day of the presentation, and email a link to the recording within 24 hours. Note: the Zoom link emailed out the day of the presentation only takes you to the live presentation; the link emailed out the day after will contain the recorded version.

This program is made possible with support from The Haverford Trust Company.


April 23
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Tags:
, , , ,