Explore the history of health in Boston

Wellcome Library

A drawing of a doctor’s dispensary from 1700s Boston.

By Kara Baskin Globe Correspondent 

Boston is a hotbed of medical news now, and the same was true hundreds of years ago. But instead of innovations in, say, cancer research, there was a devastating smallpox epidemic.

Discover the city’s unusual 18th-century health history with a walking tour: “Poxes and Prescriptions in Old Boston” on Sept. 16. What better way to recover from beach season?


Discover why someone threw a small bomb into smallpox inoculation advocate Reverend Cotton Mather’s window, learn why the Old State House was formerly known as a hotbed of infectious disease (political jokes aside), and hear about Paul Revere’s accomplishments as Boston’s first public health commissioner.

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The city tour is part of a series through the Partnership of the Historic Bostons, which hosts events that spotlight unusual and little explored aspects of Puritan life.

Meet at Boston Common’s Park Street MBTA stop at 10 a.m. Masks not required. Space is limited; secure a spot and learn more at BASKIN

Kara Baskin can be reached at