Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, March 4, 1754 – October 2, 1846, was born in Newport to Timothy Waterhouse, a chair maker, and his wife Hannah.
At age twenty-one he left Newport to study medicine in Europe. After his return to the United States in 1782, he joined the faculty of the new Harvard Medical School as one of its first three professors.
In 1801 he introduced to America a method of cowpox vaccination to prevent smallpox that had been used in England by Dr. Edward Jenner; Waterhouse made his first vaccinations on four of his own children to prove that the Englishman’s procedure was safe.
In 1805 he wrote a treatise on The Evil Tendency of the Use of Tobacco by Young Persons. Waterhouse was also an American pioneer in the study of natural history and a well-respected advocate of botanical medicine. He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery.
– (Dr.) Patrick T. Conley