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Documents Related to Lehigh Valley Homeopathy

Identifier: SC MS 0348

Scope and Contents

The collection contains a photograph of Samuel Christian Hahnemann, book about homeopathy in the first World War, correspondence, historical paper by Heindel, photostatic copies of Correspondenzblatt der homoopathischen Aerzte, die Nordamerikanische Akademie der homoopatchischen Heilkunst, Allentown an der Lecha, 1835-1836.


  • Creation: 1828-1941


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Access Restrictions: Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Use Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

Please inquire about copyright information.

Biographical / Historical

Professor Ned Heindel, the compiler, is a professor in Chemistry Department at Lehigh University regularly teaches pharmaceutical chemistry and lectures on local history. In his historical research, Prof. Heindel noted that the America's first Medical Society for Homeopathic Medicine was founded at Bath, Northampton County, Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. In 1828, a group of four successful and respected physicians from Hellertown, Bath, Bethlehem and Allentown founded an informal school of homeopathy in Bath, Pennsylvania. These four physicians: William Wesselhoeft, Henry Detweiler, John Eberhard Freitag (1764-1846) and John Romig were allopathic physicians but knew of homeopathy concepts created by Samuel Christian Hahnemann (1755-1843). Hahnemann a German physician trained at the Universities of Leipzig, Vienna and Erlangen, became disenchanted with the so-called heroic medical practices of the day (bleeding, blistering, purging, leeching) because of the suffering these methods inflicted upon patients. In the homeopathic view, the symptoms are really the body's natural defense processes at work fighting the disease, not the disease itself. Hahnemann prescribed that homeopathic medicines (extracts and tinctures of plants, minerals, elements and some animal exudates) by administered in high dilutions. Hahnemann was a prolific writer and thereby introduced homeopathy to German-speaking intellectuals in the German states, Austria, Switzerland and among the German emigrants. Wesselhoeft, Detweiler and Freitag who were educated in Europe and were immigrants to America who met at the Moravian Apothecary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and John Romig from Allentown also joined the group. Although the school the four started never reached degree status, in 1833 they decided they needed a homeopathic practitioner of considerable eminence to head the school. Dr. Constantine Hering (1800-1880) was just such a person having recently moved to Philadelphia. He was internationally known and well respected and became the intellectual cornerstone for the homeopathic teaching college. In 1834 the plan for the college to be located in Allentown with Dr. Hering as President and principle instructor was proposed and adopted at a meeting at Dr. Hering's Philadelphia home. Financial backing and legal incorporation were arranged and the Nord-Amerikanische Akademie der homoopatischen Heilkunst was officially founded in 1835. In between time the original four physicians established the Northampton Gesellschaft homoepatische Aerzte (Northampton Society of Homeopathic Physicians) on August 23, 1834. Six other Lehigh Valley physicians and two clergymen were charter members. The homeopathic medical school was located at intersection of Penn and Hamilton Streets in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania State Legislature granted the institution a charter of incorporation in 1836. After the financial failure of the initial efforts of teaching homeopathic medicine in Allentown, Dr. Hering and a group of Philadelphia physicians began efforts to recreate a homeopathic school in the Delaware Valley and in 1848 the Pennsylvania State legislature granted a charter to an institution that became Hahnemann Medical College.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)


This small collection contains documents related to the establishment of homeopathic medicine in America. The first homeopathic medical school was founded in Bath, Pennsylvania in 1828 and later built in 1834 in Allentown, Pennsylvania rather than the famous Hahnemann Homeopathic College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1848.


Collection arranged by format.

Acquisition Information

Professor Ned Heindel donated the material to Special Collections January 11, 2018.

Related Materials

Heindel, Ned G. and Foster, Natalie I. 1980. "The Allentown Academy: America's First German Medical School" in Pennsylvania Folklife, vol. XXX, No. 1, Autumn, p. 2 - 8.

Lehigh County Historical Society has a collection on the Lehigh Valley Homeopathy.

Documents Related to Lehigh Valley HomeopathySC MS 0348
Eleanor Nothelfer.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Lehigh University Library and Technology Services.

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
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