Correspondenzblatt der Homoeopatischen Aerzt at Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center

The history of homeopathic medicine in the United States is rooted in the area around Allentown, Pennsylvania, where the North American Academy of the Homeopathic Healing Art was founded in 1835 as the first school in the United States to teach homeopathic medicine. Known as the Allentown Academy, the school published sixteen issues of the Correspondenzblatt der Homoeopatischen Aerzte from 1835-1836. The publication 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, served as the journal’s editor, frequently commenting directly to submissions and occasionally writing editorials. When the Allentown Academy closed, Hering went on to co-found what would become Hahnemann Medical College, a predecessor institution of the Drexel University College of Medicine. Homeopathy, based on the law of similars, or, let likes be cured by likes, relies on drug “provings” to evaluate the efficacy of specific substances. The Correspondenzblatt der Homoeopatischen reflects the early history of the drug proving process in North America. Published primarily in German with some English entries, the Correspondenzblatt has been fully translated to English and digitized, and can be browsed on the Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center website Translated excerpts show the range of conditions treated.

  • “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.”
  • “For the many eye diseases that I have already treated, it was always clear to me when I could use sulph., the 6th potency is the most helpful, I could do more with this right at the start of my practice than with X, in which the experience of several will decide here too.”
  • “Poorly-handled or neglected skin burns cured by ars. Xo in many cases.

The homeopathic substances are abbreviated throughout. The remedies here refer to Nux Vomica (nox. vom.), Sulphur (sulph.), and Arsenicum Album (ars.), but the abbreviations aren’t always consistent. Matching abbreviations to fully-termed substances remains a challenge 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.”