Homeopathic Medical College of PA Founders

Homeopathic Medical College
of Pennsylvania
1848 - 1869

According to André Saine, from the beginning the college was under the control of older but less accomplished practitioners of homeopathy. Hering, one of the three official founders, never taught in the college until the school was reorganized out of the brink of bankruptcy in 1864. Previous to this, the education had gone from bad to worse. In 1863 the school was in financial trouble.

The following is excerpted from Andre Saine's forthcoming book, Lessons in Pure Homeopathy.

The financial situation not improving further in May 1864, the college was reorganized and entered a new era. The faculty was completely reorganized and greatly strengthened with Constantine Hering becoming Professor of Institutes and Practice of Medicine, Adolph Lippe, Professor of Materia Medica, and H. N. Guernsey, Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children.

Dunham wrote in 1865 that "within the past year the friends of true homœopathy have been greatly encouraged by the re-organization of our oldest homœopathic college, the Homœopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania. This institution which, having once done good service, had of later years languished, began a new life last year under the corps of able and active professors, zealous and pure Hahnemannians. . . we have reason to anticipate from it, henceforth, a wide and beneficent influence on the teaching and practice of true homœopathy in our country."

The quality of instruction was probably the best known to the homeopathic profession. Of this training Lippe said to the graduating class of 1866 that, "these principles have been taught to you with an unvarying unanimity, by each and every member of the Faculty. Never before has the Faculty of a Medical School more uniformly inculcated the same doctrines in Medicine." This new and very capable faculty attracted many physicians of other schools to leave their practice "in order to review their former studies and make themselves better acquainted with the principles and practice of pure homœopathy."

The following year, in 1865, a new charter was obtained for the school as "the old system of things in the way of the Board of managers of laymen, the old debts, the old mortgage, all held in power." This new charter stated that a capital stock consisting of sixty thousand dollars was to be divided into three hundred shares at twenty dollars each. On July 24, 1865 Lippe was one of the first to buy shares. He bought 50 out of 300 shares at $20 each. On the same day Hering followed suit, also with 50 shares.

As the faculty was "unanimously resolved," it was decided to publish the Hahnemannian Monthly, a monthly journal published by the faculty of the college. In an announcement of the school, Guernsey wrote that "the Faculty of the College will continue, as hitherto, to teach Homœopathy in its simplicity and purity, its principles and its practice; and the Hahnemannian Monthly will continue to represent the doctrines taught in the school. No pains will be spared, and no means unsupplied, to impart to the students a thorough medical education; and every advantage will be afforded to enable them to become truly practical, scientific and successful physicians."

Both Hering and Lippe continued to acquire more shares and in 1867 Lippe had 185 shares and took over the destiny of the Homœopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania by becoming the majority stock-holder. One of the first and most important things Lippe did was to make sure that all that was taught to the students was in harmony with pure homeopathy. From then on all the professors had to teach in unison even the professor of chemistry, physiology, pathology or surgery. All had to teach their respective subject in the context of the practice of pure homeopathy, which was a turn about from the previous course of training.

(Not long after Lippe took over the destiny of the school there was a split between Lippe and Hering, which led to the foundation of the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia (1867). Both schools ran parallel until Lippe resigned in 1869, whereupon both schools amalgamated together.)

Under Lippe's tutorials many of the graduates became great prescribers such as his son Constantine Lippe, Ernest Farrington, Edward Berridge, Walter James, Samuel Swan, and also Richard Phelan (the doctor who attended James Tyler Kent's wife and under whom Kent began the study of homeopathy). Many of these homeopaths made their mark on the growth of homeopathy.

Among the best known we can name his son Constantine Lippe (class of 1866)*, author of Repertory of the most Characteristic Symptoms of the Materia Medica; Ernest Farrington (class of 1868), who made his mark as an excellent teacher of Materia Medica and author of A Clinical Materia Medica, Edward Berridge (class of 1869), a proponent of pure homeopathy in England and the preceptor of Skinner; Thomas Bradford (class of 1869), the great historian of American homeopathy; Walter James (class of 1869) who edited the Homœopathic Physician with Edmund Lee; Calvin Knerr (class of 1869), Hering's son-in-law, was co-editor of Hering's Guiding Symptoms and editor of its repertory; and Samuel Swan (class of 1867) who introduced a great number of new remedies.

The Textbook of Materia Medica was written in 1866 by Lippe at the request of the students. It was meant to be used in class while Lippe was teaching and explaining symptoms in comparison with other remedies. A few of Lippe's lectures on Materia Medica were published. They are the best in the history of homeopathy. ... (After the two schools amalgamated into the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia the quality of education progressively degraded.)

Lessons in Pure Homeopathy
From the Writings of Hahnemann's Best Student
and Medicine's Most Successful Practitioner:
Adolph Lippe, M.D.

Edited with Commentary by
André Saine, N.D.