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Piece of cloth from Edward Jenner's coffin, United Kingdom, 1823

Edward Jenner (1749-1823), who pioneered smallpox vaccination, died on 26 January 1823. This piece of cloth was removed from his coffin and is dated 23 March 1854. Jenner was buried in the graveyard at a parish church in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England.

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Glossary: vaccination

The introduction of vaccine into the body for the purpose of inducing immunity. Coined originally to apply to the injection of smallpox vaccine, the term has come to mean any immunising procedure in which vaccine is injected.

Glossary: memento

An object kept as a reminder or souvenir of a person or an event

Glossary: cloth

Use generally for textile that is woven, felted, knit, pounded, or otherwise made into a flat piece

Glossary: cowpox

Viral infection of cows' udders, transmitted to humans by direct contact, causing very mild symptoms similar to smallpox.

Glossary: smallpox

Smallpox is an infectious virus unique to humans. It results in a characteristic skin rash and fluid-filled blisters. After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 1800s and 1900s, the World Health Organisation certified the eradication of smallpox in 1979. Smallpox is the only human infectious disease to have been completely wiped out.

Glossary: keepsake

An object intended to act as a reminder of the giver or original owner.