Illness and the Making of Early New England

Afflictions of all sorts coursed through 17th and 18th-century New England – towns and cities set ablaze by epidemics, soldiers sickened and injured in the fight for empire, families and households laboring under an astonishing range of sufferings that were at once common and costly. Click here for a 63-minute presentation by the Mass. Historical Society.

This session brings Ben Mutschler, author of The Province of Affliction: Illness and the Making of Early New England (Chicago, 2020), together with Liz Covart, podcast host of Ben Franklin’s World, to discuss how the early modern world addressed issues at once strange and familiar to us all.

The author describes the host of diseases that were common in both 17th century England and that were brought to American only to infect both Native people and settlers as well throughout the next two centuries.

(Above) Treatment of infectious illness, including smallpox, was a frequent subject of many authors during the time.