Matthew Newsom Kerr

Associate Professor, Department of History, Santa Clara University

2022 to 2023
Research Fellow

Re-Visualizing Vaccination: The British and American “Anti-Anti-Vaccinationist” Movement, 1890-1914.

My current research project examines the challenges faced by vaccine advocates in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, including efforts to reshape the visual memory and meaning of smallpox and vaccination. The Wellcome Collection holds certain records of the British Medical Association and the Research Defence Society. I am interested in the work of John C. McVail and Arthur Drury, leaders in what I term an “anti-anti-vaccinationist” movement. I also seek to study the Dr. George Dock Papers at the Huntington Library. A prominent university clinician, Dock exemplifies how pro-vaccine campaigners on both sides of the Atlantic sought to traverse the body-politics of vaccination in new ways. The project centers on how vaccine advocates struggled against misinformation and disinformation (as we would call it today), employing new technologies and techniques, including clinical photography, that publicly re-visualized the vaccinated and unvaccinated body.