135-Year-Old Piece of Skin Triggers Smallpox Scare at Museum
An outbreak of smallpox was the furthest thing from historian Dr. Paul Levengood's mind when his staff at the Virginia Historical Society put together an exhibit of "bizarre bits" that were added to the society's collection since its founding in 1831, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
There was Confederate president Jefferson Davis's cigar, confiscated by Union troops. There was a fungus carving of Robert E. Lee on his horse, Traveller, and a wreath made of human hair.
Then someone mentioned a letter, handwritten and dated 1876, with what appeared to be a smallpox scab pinned inside -- light brown, about the size of a pencil eraser and crumbling.
The scab got the attention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), home to one of the world's two known caches of live smallpox viruses....
comments powered by Disqus
- Election results are in for the American Historical Association
- Nial Ferguson warns Obama’s bet on Iran has low odds of success
- Sven Beckert’s List of the Ten Books on Slavery You Need to Read
- Jonathan Zimmerman says homosexuality is not alien to Africa
- Historian Howard Segal says the cost of paying for expensive commencement speeches is diverting funds from where they’re most needed