The Smallpox Vaccine Laboratory (Telkihhâne-i Şâhâne), later The Imperial Institute of Vaccination was founded in 1892 under the direction of Hüseyin Remzi Bey (1839-1896). Hüseyin Remzi was inspired by his 1886 visit to the Pasteur Institute in Paris, fulfilling a commission from the sultan. Originally intended to produce the smallpox vaccine, the laboratory progressively expanded its scope to various other fields of research.
During the Allied occupation of Istanbul, between 1918 and 1923, the institute was moved to Eskişehir and then to Kırşehir, before it was relocated back to the former capital.
Present here is a unique, original manuscript quest book of the Imperial Smallpox Vaccine Laboratory, with entries in various languages made by prominent guests between 1923 and 1932. The names include several prominent Ottoman/Turkish medical doctors and veterinarians, as well as international figures such as:
– Frances Elisabeth Crowell, an American nurse and social worker from the Rockefeller Foundation in Paris, whose diaries and notes offer valuable insights into the state of hospitals towards the beginning of the 20th century.
– Frederick F. Russell, the new director of the International Health Board in New York. Russell was responsible for introducing the typhoid vaccine to United States Army troops in 1910.
– Ralph K. Collins, minister of hygiene of Angora, also a member of the Rockefeller Foundation.
– Dr. Józef Celarek, head of the Serum Production Department in Warsaw.
– Dr. Mama, director of the Vaccine Institute of Belagavi, India,
– George K. Strode of the Rockefeller Foundation, who admires the laboratory’s use of a donkey in the vaccine production,
– Hugo Braun (1881 -1963), a German medical doctor and bacteriologist, who worked in Istanbul between 1933 and 1949 as a director of the Institute for Microbiology, Epidemiology and Parasitology.
– R. Rataulal, a lawyer and editor of the Bombay Law Reporter.
Most of the visitors express their admiration for the modernity of the institute and the kindness of the director.
References: Cf. Emre Karacaoğlu, Telkihhâne-i Şâhâne’nin Kuruluş Sürecine Dâir / On The Foundation Process of Telkihhane-i Sahane, Tarih Araştırmaları Dergisi, C.38/S. 65, 2019, pp. 197-249; Nuran Yıldırım, The History of Medicine in Istanbul: Taksim- Beyoğlu-Üsküdar, 2008.