For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Early Homeopathic Medicine in the United States, 1834-1900

Table of Contents 

  • Overview
  • Digital Collections
  • Frequently Used Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Education
  • Timeline: Hahnemann Medical College & Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Organizations
  • Individuals
  • Books & Journals
  • Photographs
  • Three-Dimensional Objects
  • Related Drexel Resources
  • Homeopathic Terms
  • Overview

    Composite image of homeopathy texts and objects. Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center.

    Homeopathy is a system of natural medicine developed by German physician Samuel Hahnemann. In the United States homeopathic medicine evolved in parallel with the practice and teaching of conventional medicine in the early 1800s. In 1835, Dr. Constantine Hering helped found the world’s first homeopathic school: the North American Academy of the Homeopathic Healing Art or “Allentown Academy” in Pennsylvania. The school closed less than a decade later due to financial difficulties and in 1848, Hering, along with Drs. Jacob Jeanes and Walter Williamson, founded the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania which later became the Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia. In time, the school was succeeded by Drexel University.

    The Legacy Center homeopathic medicine collections reflect the growth and evolution of the practice and education of homeopathy from the early 1800s to the present. This research guide highlights our homeopathic collections prior to 1900, an important juncture as homeopathy tested its position as an alternative to traditional medicine in the United States.

    The collections listed throughout this guide are broken down by category and include links to collection descriptions and online digital material where noted.


    Digital Collections

    A small portion of the collections are digitized and available online. Collections listed throughout this guide include links to digital material where noted. Digital material can also be accessed from the following Legacy Center resource page

    Early homeopathy in the United States digital collection


    Frequently Used Primary Sources

  • Bradford collection of biographies of Homeopathic Physicians HU.064 [collection description] [digital material]
  • Constantine Hering and Calvin B. Knerr family papers HU.100 [collection description] [digital material]
    The papers of Dr. Constantine Hering and his son-in-law, Dr. Calvin B. Knerr, both homeopathic physicians in Philadelphia, from 1820 to 1940. Collection comprises correspondence, printed materials and publications, manuscripts, notes, diaries, medical school notebooks, family photographs, meeting minutes and other records, which evidence the life and work of Hering, Knerr and their families, as well as the practice and education of homeopathic medicine in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The majority of the Hering papers have been digitized, documenting the early history of homeopathic practice in the United States.
  • North American Academy of the Homeopathic Healing Art records HU-COLL-073 [collection description] [digital material] 
    The North American Academy of Homeopathic Healing Art collection contains material dating from 1834 to 1836 pertaining to the founding of Allentown Academy, as well as several reprinted copies of materials. These include stocks, drafts, and the final copy of the academy’s constitution and bylaws, the academy’s act of incorporation by the Pennsylvania Senate, and a handwritten draft of Dr. Constantine Hering’s opening address. There is also the first volume of a work published in German by the academy titled Correspondenzblatt der Homöopathischen Aerzte, and it is available digitally here: 
    [digital material] 
  • Hyland's Foundation Neiswander Library collection 2021-015 [collection description]
    The Neiswander Library was created by the Hyland's Foundation in 2015, built on Allen Neiswander's collection of books on homeopathy and complemented by Julian Winston’s collection of books, publications, and ephemera, and additional materials from Hyland and other donors. The collection documents homeopathic practice and study from the 1800s to the early 2000s.
  • Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital financial reports HU.024 [collection description]   
    These bound volumes contain the minutes of finance and executive committees, and other special committees of the board of trustees of the Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital.
  • Hahnemann University School of Medicine Board of Trustees and Corporate administration records HU.025 [collection description]    
    Oversize corporate records and documents of Hahnemann and related hospitals and organizations, maintained by the Executive Vice President and Hospital Director, and by the Office of Housing and Property Management, including: financial statements, charters and amendments, agreements, deeds, citations, certificates. Also includes honorary fraternities Sigma Xi and Alpha Omega Alpha, Hahnemann Club of Philadelphia, Homeopathic Hospital of Philadelphia, and Washington Medical College of Philadelphia.
  • Jack J. Rommer collection on homeopathy HU.094 [collection description]   
    Collection consists of early homeopathic material, including material on the Hospital Ladies' Association, Dr. Constantine Hering, Dr. Adolphus Lippe, Dr. Charles Mohr, Dr. Adolphus Fellger, homeopathic news from the time, the American Provers Union, American Institute of Homeopathy, and additional material. Also includes the first announcement and commencement invitation of the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania 1849, Women's Hospital Association, the first American Report 1886, Material on Great Fair of 1869, Central Eclectic Medical Society, and medical sketches.

  • Secondary Sources

  • Eastman Arthur M. 1917. Life and Reminiscences of Dr. Constantine Hering. Philadelphia: Published by the family for private circulation. HU.102 [digital material]
  • King William Harvey National Center for Homoeopathy (U.S.) and American Foundation for Homoeopathy. 1905. History of Homoeopathy and Its Institutions in America; Their Founders Benefactors Faculties Officers Hospitals Alumni Etc. with a Record of Achievement of Its Representatives in the World of Medicine. New York Chicago: Lewis publishing company.
  • Kirschmann Anne Taylor. 2004. A Vital Force: Women in American Homeopathy. New Brunswick N.J: Rutgers University Press.
  • Rogers Naomi. 1998. An Alternative Path: The Making and Remaking of Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia. New Brunswick N.J: Rutgers University Press.
  • Winston Julian. 1999. The Faces of Homœopathy : An Illustrated History of the First 200 Years. Tawa N.Z: Great Auk Pub.

  • Education

    Academic and administrative materials of the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia, including by-laws, student handbooks and theses, financial reports, academic and public affairs office records, and alumni association records.

  • Hahnemann University Academic Affairs records HU.003  [collection description] 
  • Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania/Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital records HU.068  [collection description] 
  • Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital records HU.069  [collection description] 
  • Hahnemann Medical College financial records HU.086  [collection description] 
  • Hahnemann Medical College records HU.098  [collection description]  
  • Hahnemann Hospital corporate records HU.104  [collection description]  
  • Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania, Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia, Hahnemann University By-laws, 1865-1988 OS-12 & 13 
  • Handbooks, all schools, 1894-1896 OS-187 
  • Hahnemann Medical College student handbooks, undated OS-187a 
  • Hahnemann Medical College programs and invitations, 1875-1993 OS-188-193
  • Hahnemann Medical College Alumni Association scrapbooks HU.070  [collection description]   
  • Hahnemann Medical College Alumni Association records HU.071  [collection description]    
  • Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital Alumni Association records HU.OS-148-153 [collection description]  
  • Hahnemann Hospital Nurses Alumni Association minutes (Hahnemann Hospital Nurses Alumni Association), 1898-1904 OS-158 
  • Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital cornerstone contents HU.031 [collection description] 
  • Timeline: Hahnemann Medical College & Hospital of Philadelphia 

    1848: Drs. Constantine Hering, Jacob Jeanes, and Walter Williamson found the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania. 
    1867: Dr. Hering resigns after a disagreement with his colleague, Dr. Aldohus Lippe. Hering forms Hahnemann Medical College (named in honor of Samuel Hahnemann) from the charter of a defunct medical school in Philadelphia.
    1869: The Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann Medical College merge back together under a new name, Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia.  
    1884: After merging with a nearby hospital, the college is renamed Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia. 
    1890: The college adds a new hospital unit and School of Nursing.  
    1981: The college is renamed Hahnemann University and Hospital (HU). 
    1993: HU merges with the Medical College of Pennsylvania (MCP)/Allegheny Health Education and Research Foundation (AHERF). 
    1994: The college is renamed MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine. 
    1998: AHERF files for bankruptcy. Drexel University operates MCP Hahnemann University College of Medicine.
    2002: The college is renamed Drexel University College of Medicine. 


    Organizations

    Records of homeopathic medical societies in Philadelphia during the 19th and early 20th centuries, including the American Provers' Union, Homeopathic Medical Society of Philadelphia, Hahnemann Club of Philadelphia, and the Lippe Society of Philadelphia.
     
    Hahnemann Club of Philadelphia HU.062a [collection description]   
     
    Homeopathic medical societies' records HU.074 [collection description]  

    Homeopathic Medical Society of Philadelphia records HU.075 [collection description]   

    Homeopathic Medical Society of Philadelphia records HU.076 [collection description]
     
    Lippe Society of Philadelphia records HU.077 [collection description]   

    Jack J. Rommer collection on homeopathy HU.094 [collection description]   

    Individuals

    Academic and administrative materials of graduates or professors of the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia; also includes collections of homeopathic physicians in the Philadelphia region who collected homeopathic material from the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

    Books & Journals


    Photographs

    • HU.001 Hahnemann University photograph collection [collection description] [digital material]
      • Images of founding individuals and other notable persons (such as Samuel Hahnemann), and buildings that have housed the college and hospital over its 150 plus year history. Note that only a portion of the collection is digitized and available online. 
    • Hyland's Foundation Neiswander Library collection 2021-015 [collection description]
      • Images of founding individuals and other notable persons, buildings, and monuments that document homeopathic practice and study in the United States and abroad from the 1800s to the early 2000s.
      • Hyland's Foundation Neiswander Library collection at Drexel University Legacy Center [spreadsheet inventory]

    Three-Dimensional Objects


    Related Resources


    Homeopathic Terms

  • homeopathy: “system of natural medicine developed by Samuel Hahnemann”; derives from the Greek words homoios and pathos meaning “like-suffering” 
  • materia medica: “materials of medicine” in Latin; “a reference that lists the curative indications and therapeutic actions of homeopathic medicines. This information is derived from provings and clinical experience”; an index pairing specific ailments with its recommended remedy
  • orthodox: non-homeopathic 
  • potency: "strength of a homeopathic remedy” 
  • potentized: "usually refers to a substance prepared according to homeopathic pharmaceutical standards. This means that it has gone through serial dilution and succussion”: a fully prepared remedy that has undergone dilution and succussion
  • potentizer: a machine that prepares homeopathic remedies through dilution and succussion  
  • proving: "the most accurate method of ascertaining the action of medicines on human health. Medicines (usually potentized) are administered to healthy people to discover the symptoms they are capable of producing and thereby able to cure”; tests 
  • remedy: homeopathic substance to treat relevant symptoms 
  • repertory: "an index of the homeopathic materia medica by symptom”
  • succussion: “the process of forcefully striking a homeopathic remedy against a firm surface”
  • trituration: “preparation of a remedy by grinding”

  • References

  • Glossary of Homeopathic Terms. Welling Clinic, 2023. https://homeopathyclinic.co.in/glossary-homeopathic-terms/ 
  • Rogers Naomi. 1998. An Alternative Path : The Making and Remaking of Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia New Brunswick N.J: Rutgers University Press.
  • Winston Julian. 1999. The Faces of Homœopathy : An Illustrated History of the First 200 Years. Tawa N.Z: Great Auk Pub.


  • Research Guide created by Bonnie Small, November 2023, with funds graciously provided by the Foundation for Homeopathic Education.‚Äč