It was on this date in 1796 that Edward Jenner gave the first innoculation against smallpox, a disease that the World Health Organization declared in 1980 to be completely eradicated. But we all know what has happened since then. Anyway, this is about vaccination, not germ warfare...
Dr. Jenner had observed that milkmaids who contracted cowpox were immune to smallpox. He took some of the material from a cowpox pustule and injected it into 8-year-old James Phipps on May 14, 1796. James contracted cowpox. Now, just to be sure that his theory was correct, Dr. Jenner next injected James with material from a smallpox pustule. James did not get smallpox.
One can only wonder how many other little experiments Dr. Jenner performed with less success.
(Little aside: His method is similar to the way I test my electric fencing. I wait until someone brings a child over and then I carefully show the child the plastic-flagged wire, admonishing him or her to avoid touching it at all costs and not to even consider touching the wire indirectly, say with a long piece of wet grass. Then I go a short distance and pretend to be busy while waiting for the yelp.)
The word "vaccine" comes from the Latin vacca, cow, vaccinus, pertaining to cows.
Saints with feast days on May 14th include Boniface of Tarsus and Aglae, who I mistakenly listed with the May 13th group. Mea culpa, mea culpa. The worst part is that I skipped St. Rolanda (May 13). "She is invoked against colic and gravel." If you needed Rolanda, I am sincerely sorry for the delay.
Other saints are Matthias, Pontius, Carthage, Erembert, Michael Garicoits, and Mary Mazzarello.
Bobby Darin (1936-1973) was born on May 14. He was more famous than those other Bobbies (Vinton, Vee, and Rydell) during the years when every adorable little male singer was named Bobby. Darin was rewarded for his fame and talent, winning the hand of the cutest person every born--the human equivalent of a dozen baby goats and fuzzy lambs--Sandra Dee.
Bobby Darin was aware that he had a congenital heart defect and his early death was due to his decision to have an exceedingly full short life rather than a restricted longer one that might have included playing the Minnesota State Fair this summer.