October 28, 1890 -April 25, 1900
While looking through some boxes of old papers in the Archives of Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, I came across a large ledger book, which I found, upon inspection, contained all the minutes of the Post Graduate School of Homeopathics in Philadelphia.
Little has been known about the Post Graduate School of Homeopathics. How the book arrived in the Archives is not known. The Post Graduate School of Homeopathics was in no way affiliated with the Hahnemann Medical College.
We know that Kent had come to Philadelphia from St. Louis in 1888 to do a series of lectures at the Women’s Homeopathic Hospital where he was invited to be a consulting physician. How he started to organize the Post Graduate School is unknown.
This document provides many insights into the workings of the school. Since the “office of the corporation” was Kent’s residence, the document provides us with an accurate accounting of when Kent * moved to the various locations within the city.
It is interesting to note that the president of the Post Graduate School of Homeopathics was John Pitcairn, the founder of Pittsburgh Plate Glass, who was a devout follower of Swedenborg and was responsible for building the New Church Cathedral at Bryn Athyn, PA, as well as his castle-like private residence.
William F. Kaercher, who served as the secretary of the organization, was the son-in-law of the noted homeopath and pharmacist Bernhardt Fincke. A medicine chest, belonging to Kaercher and containing over 4000 remedies, now resides at the National Center for Homeopathy in Alexandria, VA.
What follows is a summary of the Post Graduate Record Book. A longer, more detailed article will be written in the future.
“A meeting of persons interested in promoting the formation of an association to support an educational institution for the higher education of physicians in the philosophy and methods of homeopathy was held on Tuesday evening, October 28th, 1890 at 1419 Walnut Str., Philadelphia.”
On December 16, 1890, Kent was elected dean of the school.
On January 15, 1891, a suitable building was found at 1317 Ridge Ave. The fee for the spring semester was to be $50.
There would be two courses of lectures each year. The general clinic would be open between 12 PM and 1 PM daily, except Sunday. Eye and ear and obstetrics clinics were open Mon and Thurs; children’s clinic and the Toxology clinic were open Wed. and Sat; the surgical clinic was open Tues. and Fri.
By April 16, 1891, Kent had moved his office to 1605 Walnut Street.
On June 2, 1891, a number of people were made honorary members of the Post Graduate School of Homeopathics: Among them were H. C. Allen; B. A. Banerjee of Calcutta; E. W. Berridge of London, England; J. A. Biegler of Rochester, NY; S. L. Guild Leggett of Syracuse, NY; R. Gibson Miller of Glasgow, Scotland; E. B. Nash of Cortland, NY; G. Pompili of Rome, Italy; Edward Rushmore of Plainfield, NJ; Thomas Skinner of Liverpool, England; Mary Florence Taft of Waterbury, CT; Rufus Thurston of Boston, MA; J. D. Tyrell of Toronto, Canada; and W. A. Yingling, MD, of Nonchalanta, KS. The list reads like a “who’s who” of American homeopathy.
On November 19, 1891, each member had to sign the following statement that was identified only as Article II:
“Section 1: The Organon of Samuel Hahnemann, edition of 1833, shall furnish the sole groundwork of principles to be taught in this school, and no principles at variance with the said work shall be taught at any time or under any circumstances, and any professor, tutor, or assistant found guilty of violating this principle must be removed from office.
Section 2: The said Organon must be accepted as teaching the only homeopathy recognized by this association, vis: the employment of the single remedy, dynamized medicines, and the minimum dose, not singly but collectively.
Section 3: Potentized medicines shall be used in the clinics of the school or schools maintained by this association under all circumstances, and under no circumstances shall crude drugs be made use of, either internally or externally for dynamic diseases (non-surgical) in the teaching or the clinics.
Section 4: It shall not be the object of the institution to teach the mechanical branches of the healing arts, such as belong to surgery, yet it shall not be considered opposed to the interests of the school to attend to any surgical case that may come under the care of the clinicians.”
On January 6, 1892, Dr. Baldwin was removed from his teaching position:
“Dr. Baldwin began his course of lectures in accordance with the announcement on page 15 under the head of philosophy and undertook to teach the truths in the Organon of Hahnemann fearlessly in truth and verity and not abridged and distorted to suit the prevailing theories of the day, but almost immediately he departed from this course and began teaching doctrine so opposed to those of the Organon that the members of the class and instructors protested to the Dean (Kent) against being obliged to listen to such heretical teaching, and thereupon, the Dean, having examined the matter and found that W. W. Baldwin, MD, was teaching principles at variance with the said Organon and, therefore, in pursuance of his duty as set forth in section 1 article II of the constitution, immediately removed the said W. W. Baldwin, MD, from his office as assistant lecturer.”
The exact nature of the infraction was never mentioned.
On November 23, 1894, a building at 613-15 Spring Garden Street was purchased. November 21, 1895: A draft of a circular was presented. The figures presented are amazing:
“The free dispensary attached to the Philadelphia Post Graduate School of Homeopathics was first opened January 24, 1891 at 1317 Ridge Ave. By the close of the year it had made 2806 prescriptions at the dispensary and made 100 visits to patients at their homes. The numbers have steadily increased until, in the close of 1894 the dispensary was driven to seek more commodious quarters at its present location 613-15 Spring Garden Street. Last month it treated 1047 patients.
Its total record to July 1, 1895 shows 32,375 patients prescribed for at the dispensary, and 4245 patients at their own homes. This grand total is being added to month by month in an increasing ratio.”
February 27, 1896, began an interesting episode. Dr. A. S. Ironside read a letter from Dr. T. P. Matthews in which Dr. Matthews said that Ironside told him that, “Dr. Kent, in delivering his lectures at the Post Graduate School of Homeopathics, took the occasion to infuse his homeopathic teaching with the ‘New Church’ doctrine to an extent that was giving the school a reputation as a Swedenborgian institution, and that to such an extent that two directors, Hopkins and Pierce, were withholding their pecuniary support upon the declared ground that it had become sectarian in character; to use your own words, ‘It is common talk with Dr. Hopkins and Dr. Pierce that they are not going to give anything to support a Swedenborgian School.'”
Dr. Matthews asks that the charges be looked into by a committee. A discussion followed in which Ironside said it was his belief that Kent had introduced Swedenborgian doctrine to the injury of the school, and such a grievance should be presented to the board. If founded in fact, the practice should be stopped. Kent * asked a committee to investigate.
By April 16, 1896, Kent had relocated to 2009 Walnut Street. The Directors’ meeting was taken up with the “Ironside Affair” covers about eight pages in the ledger book (from page 240). A summary is offered here:
1. The doctrines which are distinctively those of Emanuel Swedenborg are numerous and range over wide fields in science, philosophy, theology, and religion. The accusation is merely that Swedenborgian doctrine had been introduced into teaching at the school, without defining or specifying which doctrine is alluded to.
2. “A doctrine might be introduced casually by way of an illustration of the subject matter, without injury but with positive benefit.”
YEAR PRESCRIPTIONS OUT PATIENT
1891 2806 400
1892 7234 878
1893 7181 663
1894 997 961
1895 6157 1343
3. “Injury might result if the Swedenborgian doctrine so introduced was at variance with the system of homeopathy as taught in the Organon of Samuel Hahnemann, Edition 1833. Injury could also occur from the teaching of theology of any character which would be at variance with homeopathy if the class instructed was thereby made to consider that restraint or coercion was being exercised upon their individual freedom of choice as to religious beliefs. . . .”
The committee decided that the accusations were “vague, general, and indefinite” and did not contain any specifications. The Board asked Dr. Ironside to offer specific charges. They asked for it in writing. Two letters were sent to him, copies of which are in the minutes. He did not comply with either request. On May 2nd, he replied that he had nothing to say on the matter.
The committee found that since Ironside did not say that Kent was not teaching the Organon (as stated in the by-laws), he was not at variance with the principles that were to be taught. Since there are no specific charges, they have no way to take any action and Dr. Ironside’s complaint is only an opinion.
At this time the board asked for Ironside’s resignation. They also wanted his diploma back (“requested to return to the board for cancellation the diploma evidencing the Degree of Master of Homeopathics”).
It is of interest to note that in King’sHistory ofHomeopathy (1905), Ironside is not listed as a graduate of the PostGraduate School.
May 18, 1898: Harvey Farrington is listed as a lecturer for the first time.
January 18, 1900: At the 10th annual meeting, Kent announced that he had received a proposition to affiliate the Post Graduate School with the Dunham College in Chicago. The Board voted to accept the affiliation. Dunham College accepted the following conditions:
Condition 1: The Post Graduate School of Homeopathics be allowed to operate under its constitution and its own name.
Condition 2: That the Post Graduate School be allowed to operate under its own by-laws.
Condition 3: That the Dean of the Post Graduate School be James Tyler Kent.
Condition 4: That the curriculum remain the same.
On March 15, 1900, Kent verbally resigned from the organization.
On April 1st, the dispensary closed.
On April 5, 1900, it was reported that Drs. Gladwin and Ives took records from the record cases without permission. Dr. Farrington was in possession of the Kent Repertory that was used at the clinic. Several of the doctors wished to have the clinic remain open, and several others wanted to buy some of the furniture.
It was reported that before Dr. Kent left for Chicago, he expressed his disapproval of the use of the clinic, re-expressing his fear that Dr. Cooper did not know these persons as well as he, Dr. Kent, did, and the opinion that we ought not permit them to continue any work in our name, or so as to assume any recommendation on our part. Kent * had, on the other hand, expressed great confidence in Dr. Ives, saying that whatever she should undertake to do we could depend upon as being right.
On April 25, 1900, the property at 613-15 Spring Garden St. was sold.
In the ten years of existence, the school graduated only 30 people:
June 6, 1892:
J. A. Tomhagen, Jennie Medley, William Johnson, Fredericka E. Gladwin, J. Eugene Tremaine
April 27, 1893:
Allan S. Ironside, Frederick Scott Keith, and S. L. Guild-Leggett
April 26, 1894:
Charles Louis Olds, Mary Augusta Johnson, and Rosalie Stankowitch
April 25, 1895:
Clinton Enos, Maybelle M. Park, Helen Braddock Carpenter, A. Mary Ives, George Hover Thatcher
April 16, 1896:
Amelia Hess, Julia Loos, Mary K. Jackson, Lydia Webster Stokes, Henry Lincoln Houghton
March 18, 1897:
George H. Cooper, Hugh Cameron, Margaret Lewis, Josephine Howland
April 13, 1899:
Carrie Newton, Clyde Edwin Barton, Harvey Farrington, Alice Haley Bassett, Josephine Phelps