In Imperial Brazil, the Academy of Medicine played an important role in promoting debates and discussions about local medicine. It was a symbol of the movement to try to organize the Brazilian medical body and lend it legitimacy. The article focuses on issue surrounding the Academy's activities regarding the smallpox vaccine and its conceptions and practice, covering the period form the Academy's birth as the Rio de Janeiro Society of Medicine till its transformation into the National Academy of Medicine, when Brazil became a Republic at the close of the nineteenth century. The main source for this study were the Academy's periodicals, which portrayed Brazilian medical thought and practice throughout the nineteenth century and underscored the lack of research and the need for greater reading on the topic so local studies could be conducted. These publications were devoted to disseminating works that had already been published in other countries or to discussion raised by Brazilian physicians. The later at first targeted clinical and hospital cases and statistics and the later, starting in the 1880s, began to incorporate laboratory experiments.