About this Exhibit

This online exhibit was created to highlight some of the unique content that is available in the Brilliant Collection. Its primary audiences are scholars or anyone else who is interested in the history of medicine, India, public health, or epidemiology; sociology and culture, and political science.  Many of the Collection's World Health Organization reports and documents are available in the WHO Insitutional Repository for Information Sharing.

We would like to thank the World Health Organization for granting permission to use their materials in this online format.  In particular, we thank Dr. Larry Brilliant for his generous gift of primary source materials.  We have poured over these documents with wonder and amazement and awe.

The Brilliant Collection

Dr. Lawrence Brilliant is a graduate of the University of Michigan and served on the faculty of its School of Public Health.  Prior to that, he worked in the field as part of the World Health Organization (WHO) India country team.  Dr. Briliant wrote about his experiencse in his book The Management of Smallpox Eradication in India.  He is currently president and CEO of the Skoll Global Threats Fund which is focussed on solving problems in health, climate change, nuclear proliferation, and sustainability.

The Brilliant Collection began with Dr. Brilliant's personal records and grew as he gathered documents from other relevant subject areas.  It consists of numerous primary sources documents surrounding the global eradication of smallpox including surveillance materials on outbreaks in other countries, detailed search and containment data for Indian states, training materials and briefing documents, international reports on program success and failures, epidemiological data, and  outreach materials.  When Dr. Brilliant left the University of Michigan, he donated his collection to the Public Health Library which later merged with the Taubman Health Sciences Library.

The Brilliant Collection will be available to the public later this year.  For further information, contact the Taubman Health Sciences Library via phone (734-764-1210) or email (thlibrary@umich.edu)

Larry Brilliant-UM_Picture.jpg

Dr. Larry Brilliant


Dr. Brilliant's book about his experiences in India.


Some of the documents from the Brilliant Collection.

Selected bibliography

Brilliant, Lawrence B. The Management of Smallpox Eradication In India. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1985.

Eradication of smallpox in India: report of the International Smallpox Assessment Commission, 6-20 April 1977. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1977. 

Fenner, F., … [et al.], Smallpox and its eradication, Geneva: World Health Organization, 1988.

The Global Eradication of Smallpox: Final Report of the Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox Eradication. Geneva : World Health Organization. December 1979.

Tucker, Jonathan B. Scourge: the Once And Future Threat of Smallpox. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2001.

World Health Organization.  The Smallpox Eradication Programme - SEP (1966-1980).



World Health Organization logo certifying global smallpox eradication.

India Engages the Pandemic