This thesis examines the compulsory smallpox vaccination controversy in Utah, 1899-1901. It looks at the two smallpox epidemics during 1899-1901 and follows the boards of health attempts to eradicate smallpox primarily by compelling the vaccination of school children.
Dr. Theodore B. Beatty, secretary of the State Board of Health, championed the effort to vaccinate all Utahns; however, the opposition led by Charles W. Penrose, editor of the Deseret Evening News, produced anti-compulsion and vaccination information which influenced Utahns to generally oppose vaccination. Consequently, the legislature passed an anti-compulsory vaccination statute over the governor's veto to annul the courts decision that the health boards had the authority to compel vaccination.
The research reveals that Utah's opposition to compulsory vaccination impeded medical progress. It also claims that this was the first controversy experienced by the members of the dominant religion in Utah which resulted in the expression of divergent viewpoints.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; History
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bluth, Eric L., "Pus, Pox, Propaganda and Progress: The Compulsory Smallpox Vaccination Controversy in Utah, 1899-1901" (1993). All Theses and Dissertations. 4537.
Smallpox, Vaccination, Utah, History, Law, legislation, Charles W. Penrose, Charles William, 1832-1925