Ihad already realized, as a medical student in 1972, that the third and later American editions of Kent’s Repertory had many printing mistakes. It was surprising that these errors had not been rectified by Dr. Kent. However, on closer examination, I realized that the publication of the third edition appeared after June 5, 1916, the date of Dr. Kent’s death. It occurred to me that Dr. Kent never had the chance to correct these errors.
Logically, I tried to locate the second edition of the Repertory.
I spoke to Mr. Roger Ehrhart in 1972, while he was still alive, but he could not give me much help. He was the last surviving member of the Ehrhart family, who owned the famous homeopathic pharmacy of Ehrhart and Karl and were the original publishers of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth American editions of the Repertory. It was not clear if the library of Ehrhart and Karl had the second edition (Kent’s own copy, or even an uncorrected one).
A paper by Dr. K.C. Mittal in the January/February 1963 issue of the AIH Journal was my first clue to the existence of Kent’s own personal repertory. Dr. Mittal reported that this repertory was in the possession of Dr. Pierre Schmidt of Geneva, Switzerland. In June 1972, I had the opportunity to be in Geneva and spoke to Dr. Schmidt about Dr. Mittal’s paper and the errors I had observed in Kent’s Repertory. He informed me that Dr. Mittal had come to Geneva in 1961 and 1962 and had diligently worked with Kent’s own personal copy of the second edition, into which Kent had put thousands of corrections. This copy had been used after Dr. Kent’s death by Ehrhart and Karl to prepare the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth American editions. This book-Kent’s own personal copy-I will call the “Treasure”.
Dr. Schmidt informed me that, after carefully doing this work, Dr. Mittal had run away from Switzerland, taking the Treasure with him, as well as his own copy in which he had made the corrections.
Dr. Mittal had copied carefully every correction from the Treasure into his own sixth American edition of Kent’s Repertory. In addition, he had copied every correction from the Mind and Generalities chapters into a copy of an Indian edition belonging to Dr. Schmidt, which Dr. Schmidt showed me. This was a specially bound book, with a green cover and special springaction separators between the various chapters. In it were very neatly copied corrections in a very symmetrical handwriting. A facsimile of one such page from the Mind chapter is printed in Kent’s Final General Repertory. It is to be noted that the handwriting on this facsimile is completely different from Kent’s signature, which also appears in the preface of this book. Thus, the handwriting is probably Dr. Mittal’s. Dr. Schmidt informed me that, after carefully doing this work, Dr. Mittal had run away from Switzerland, taking the Treasure with him, as well as his own copy in which he had made the corrections. If this copy could be found, it would be nearly as valuable as the Treasure. I will refer to Dr. Mittal’s copy as “MKR” (Mittal’s Kent’s Repertory).
In July1972, I also made the acquaintance of Mme. Dora Schmidt Nagel, the wife of Dr. Pierre Schmidt. She is a homeopathic pharmacist as well as owner of Laboratoire Homeopathique de Mme. Schmidt. This noble and gracious lady was the one who later enabled me to find the Treasure.
In 1973, I finished my studies in mathematics at a university in the U.S. and began my study of medicine at the University of Brussels. The motivation behind my giving up my profession as a mathematician lay in the inspiration I had received in the study of Kent’s incredible Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy, Lectures on Materia Medica, and his Repertory. I had a dream and a deep intuitive feeling that homeopathy could perhaps again triumph on the Earth and regain its past glory in the healing of the nations. I hoped that by using the techniques of mathematics and computers, I might play some role in the solution of medical problems. I was further inspired and encouraged by two wonderful friends, Mrs. Audrey Winthers (daughter of Dr. A.H. Grimmer, who had entrusted me with her father’s original manuscripts-a work that will appear soon as The Collected Works of Dr. A.H. Grimmer) and Joseph L. Kaplowe, M.D. , of New Haven, Connecticut, also a homeopathic doctor.
During my years as a medical student, I had many occasions to speak of the problem of Kent’s repertory with Mme. Schmidt. Her gracious help and encouragement in my days as a medical student were truly instrumental in my success at completing my M.D.
In 1978, Mme. Schmidt wrote a letter to Dr. Mittal and gave it to me to present to him when I went for a three week vacation to India. Mme. Schmidt told me that it was Dr. Eugene Alonzo Austin, a beloved student of Kent, who had passed on the Treasure to Dr. Schmidt in 1939, when the latter physician had traveled to the U.S. to learn homeopathy with him. However, Kent’s corrections, which Dr. Austin had earnestly urged be incorporated into the repertory, were never incorporated into the post-war editions (the fifth and sixth American editions).
Finding Dr. Mittal in India was difficult; he rarely stayed in one place. After zigzagging from Delhi to Lucknow to Delhi to Amritsar, I finally located him and presented him with the letter from Mme. Schmidt. This opened the doors of my search.
Dr. Mittal had cut up the Treasure into bits and pieces, some of which he carried on his person and some of which were hidden in a village.
I spent one whole evening talking with Dr. Mittal. He told me that indeed he had taken the Treasure. It was agreed that every effort would be made by Dr. Mittal and myself to have Kent’s corrections incorporated into the repertory. However, I did not personally see either the Treasure or Dr. Mittal’s repertory (MKR). Dr. Mittal informed me that he had been pursued by Dr. Pierre Schmidt and Dr. Diwan Harish Chand, who had called upon the services of Interpol to retrieve the Treasure. He said that he had been constantly harassed and threatened and was fleeing from these people. However, the Treasure was never found. In fact, Dr. Mittal had cut up the Treasure into bits and pieces, some of which he carried on his person and some of which were hidden in a village. Dr. Mittal informed me that his copy, as well as the rest of the bits and pieces of the Treasure, were kept in another town, of which he would tell me on another occasion when I returned.
During this visit to India, I also met with Dr. Diwan Harish Chand at his home in Delhi. I saw a copy of the Indian edition belonging to Dr. Pierre Schmidt that was mentioned in the introduction, and also several hundred bits and some pages of the Treasure.
After the visit in February 1978, there was sporadic correspondence between Dr. Mittal and myself. In 1980, I had occasion to return to India for vacation, and again, after considerable effort, I was able to locate him. Together we traveled to the small village of Rampur, where he told me he had hidden his copy of the repertory together with the remains of the Treasure. I endured the discomforts of a slow, long train journey. At Rampur, the head of the family and Dr. Mittal conferred by themselves and then told me that I would have to return another time. The books were hidden in a small wood hut in the fields and the 14-mile trip by motorcycle was not possible at this time. In vain, I explained that I had limited time and that I had come all the way from the United States. After much persuasion they asked me to return in seven days. It was with great discouragement that I returned to my home in Bombay.
Despite this setback, I vowed to try once more before returning to America. I left Bombay and met Dr. Mittal in Delhi. We again journeyed to Rampur. This time Dr. Mittal asked the man to produce his books and, after a lot of argument, a large bundle wrapped in a large dirty cloth was produced and its contents dumped out onto the ground. Among them was Dr. Mittal’s copy of the repertory, another Indian edition of the repertory, a copy of the first edition of Kent’s Repertory published in 1899, and two volumes of lectures on Materia Medica given by Kent and typed by his students. These Dr. Mittal bade me take back with me to the U.S. In addition, he entrusted me with thousands of pieces of the Treasure that had been cut up.
With this, I departed for Delhi and from there, back to the United States. At the stopover in Frankfurt I phoned Mme. Schmidt and with joy told her of the recovered treasures:
1) The MKR;
2) Several thousand pieces of the Treasure;
3) A copy of the first American edition of Kent’s Repertory;
4) A two-volume set of lecture notes on Materia Medica. These lectures were given by James Tyler Kent in 1897. They contain remedies not found in Lectures on Materia Medica and also show different aspects of the classical remedies. The volumes belonged to Mary Florence Taft and were inscribed as a present to Betty Prescott Dolbease and Louis Prescott Dolbease. These lectures, together with lectures given by Kent at the Dunham Medical College in 1902, will be published as a book entitled Unpublished Materia Medica of Kent, to appear in 1999;
5) A typed paper written by Dr. Mittal entitled, “The Importance of Kent’s Repertory in the Clinic and Practice,” which was delivered at the International Congress for Homeopathic Medicine (LIGA),
Dusseldorf, Germany, September 1962. I have expanded, edited, and converted this paper into a book, Guide to Kent’s Repertory.
Since 1980, I have reviewed the material entrusted to me by Dr. Mittal. There are several thousand cut-up pieces of the Treasure in Kent’s own handwriting. I have spent several hundred hours identifying hundreds of these to see where they fit in the third and later American editions of the Repertory. I also compared these with the MKR. I have found that the MKR has the exact corrections of these several hundred bits.
There are also 44 almost complete pages of the Treasure (22 double-sided sheets), easily identifiable as being from the chapter on Extremities. One easily recognizes the handwriting of Dr. Kent and it is clear that it is quite different from the handwriting on the facsimile page appearing in the 1980 Indian Edition. This latter handwriting seems to be that of Dr. Mittal. The agreement of the 44 pages as well as the bits of the Treasure with the MKR safely leads us to the conclusion that the MKR (Dr. K.C. Mittal’s copy of the Repertory) is a true and correct version of the Treasure (Dr. Kent’s personal copy of the Second Revised Edition).