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Innkeeper Nathaniel Dwight is angry with Elihu Ashley for 2 reasons: he believes Ashley has infected his young granddaughter with smallpox and he wants to be paid back for the money he has had to spend for her medical care. Ashley, who was serving as a doctor in Worthington, Massachusetts, after his training in Deerfield, has recently had a vaccination for smallpox and has stopped at Dwight's inn in Belchertown, Massachusetts, where he has left his coat. When he tries to get the coat, the landlord accuses him of infecting the building and causing the illness of his granddaughter. The tone of the letter shows the fear of smallpox and how widespread it was among the population at a time when shots were new.


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Letter to Dr. Elihu Ashley

author   Nathaniel Dwight (1770-1831)
date   Jun 26, 1775
location   Belchertown, Massachusetts
height   8.5"
width   6.5"
process/materials   manuscript, paper, ink
item type   Personal Documents/Letter
accession #   #L99.169

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See Also...

Letter to Nathaniel Dwight from Dr. Elihu Ashley

Pages from Journal of Dr. Elihu Ashley

Letter to Nathaniel Dwight from Dr. Elihu Ashley

High Chest of Drawers

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