Mary Wortley Montagu (1689 – 1762), remembered for her letters from Turkey, as wife to the British ambassador, which have been described by Billie Melman as “the very first example of a secular work by a woman about the Muslim Orient”. One of the first europeans to inocculate her children against small pox, despite the attacks from medecins of her time.
She defied convention most memorably with her pioneering of a smallpox inoculation, a course of action unparalleled in medical advance up to that point. Lady Mary's own brother had died of smallpox and her own famous beauty had been marred by a bout with the disease in 1715. In 1717, she went to live in Turkey with her husband, the British ambassador to that country, and stayed for two years. There she witnessed the practice of inoculation against smallpox—variolation—which she called…
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (15 May 1689 – 21 August 1762) was an English aristocrat and writer. Lady Mary is today chiefly remembered for her letters, particularly her letters from Turkey, as wife to the British ambassador, which have been described by Billie Melman as “the very first example of a secular work by a woman about the Muslim Orient”.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, the wife of the English ambassador to Turkey, spent two years in Turkey in the early 1700's. During her stay she wrote many letters decribing the clothing and habits of Turkish women - including a form of innoculation against small pox. In the center, a European painter portrays her in Ottoman dress in 1718.