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From the Collections: Correspondenzblatt der Homoeopathischen Aerzte

Correspondenzblatt der Homoeopathischen Aerzte, October 22, 1835. (The Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections)

We’re in the process of expanding our digital collections and one of the upcoming additions is the Correspondenzblatt der Homoeopathischen Aerzte, a small journal published from 1835-1836 by the North American Academy of the Homeopathic Healing Art (which was known as the Allentown Academy, having been located in Allentown, PA).

Homeopathy is a therapeutic system based on the law of similars, “Similia similibus curentur” or, let likes be cured by likes. In 1835 the practice of homeopathy was just getting a foothold in the United States.

The Correspondenzblatt der Homoeopatischen Aerzte (Correspondence Paper of Homeopathic Physicians) is from the Hahnemann Collection and was the first homeopathic journal published in the United States, created by and for homeopathic practitioners who submitted case notes, observations and questions about their patients. Constantine Hering, one of the founders of the Academy and considered to be the “father of American Homeopathy”, served as the journal’s editor.

The issues are short but dense, running 4-8 pages each (with a total of 16 issues in its short life) and are packed with detailed case studies on ailments being treated homeopathically. In aggregate, they illustrate the holistic approach used by homeopaths in treating minor and major illnesses, from toothaches to measles. More than a few of the case studies detail the use of homeopathy to treat animals, including pigs, horses and cows. Some descriptions are graphic and should be avoided by the faint of heart.

The original publication is mostly in German with a few entries in English. We’ve had the entire run translated to English which we’ll post along with the digital facsimiles of the paper. Some translated excerpts:

M.W. a brunette woman nearly 40 years old reported to me on April 11, 1836 the following complaints: tearing in the right arm and in the sinews, worse with motion, pulls down into the hand, with heat in, so that the veins swell.

Poorly-handled or neglected skin burns cured by ars. Xo in many cases.

The eyes of an old, corpulent daily drinker were severely inflamed, burning with pain – the flow of tears – red blood vessels on the zygoma and nose – allopathic remedies had been applied in vain for a long time – nox. vom. in several doses cured despite the continued enjoyment of holy drinks.

The homeopathic substances are abbreviated throughout. The remedies here refer to Arsenicum Album (ars.) and Nux Vomica (nox. vom.) but the abbreviations aren't always consistent. We're still working out exactly how we'll match abbreviations to fully-termed substances in the digital version.

In his role as editor, Hering encourages the practice and growth of homeopathy and cajoles his readers to contribute and share.

“Everything which the individual discovers must become the common good of all! That is the great noble principle that ensures the new art its position.”