June 26, 1721 Following the recommendation of Rev. Cotton Mather, Dr. Zabdiel Boylston of Boston completes the first inoculation against smallpox in the U.S., injecting his own son and two of his slaves.
1736 In New York, the city almshouse, located on Broadway near Park Row, opens an infirmary with six beds. This infirmary grows into Bellevue Hospital.
May 11, 1751 Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond receive a charter from the Pennsylvania legislature to open the first hospital in the American colonies for the sick poor and the insane.
1770 Kings College awards the first M.D. degree in the colonies to Robert Tucker.
June 13, 1771 New York Hospital, the second in the colonies after the Pennsylvania Hospital, receives a royal charter from King
Oct. 12, 1773 The Public Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds is established in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was the first building in North America devoted solely to the treatment of the mentally ill.
1791 The Society of New York Hospital opens at a site on Broadway between Duane and Worth Streets.
July 16, 1798 President John Adams signs into law, "An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen," creating the Marine Hospital Service that later evolves into the Public Health Service. Federal customs collectors tax American ships arriving from foreign ports 20 cents per sailor per month to pay for construction and maintenance of marine hospitals. This sum is subtracted from the wages of seamen.
March 1, 1799 The Lying-in Hospital of the City of New York is chartered, the first to provide obstetrical care for women in New York City.