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NCH Honors Homeopathic History

November 25, 2015

It is said that history often repeats itself. Hering Marker in Philadelphia

In March of 1876, a group of eminent physicians gathered in Philadelphia to honor Dr. Constantine Hering, the “father of North American Homeopathy”, with testimonials offering praise to his “intellectual ability, untiring industry, broad culture and liberal spirit” and cited that it is to him that “….homeopathy preeminently owes her firm establishment and vigorous growth in America….” 

On November 8, 2015, that piece of history repeated itself a bit as the National Center for Homeopathy dedicated a Pennsylvania State Historical Marker (pictured to the right) honoring the life and work of Dr. Hering at the location of his home and office in Philadelphia. This ceremony marked the end of a year-long effort to erect the marker, which began with a suggestion during an NCH Board of Directors meeting. 

An enthusiastic and robust crowd gathered for the dedication, including Dr. Hering’s great grandson, Conrad Hering Knerr, and most of Conrad’s six daughters (pictured to the left). Attendees heard testimonials about Dr. Hering’s character, leadership and work, the deep well of homeopathic pharmaceutical and medical history in Philadelphia, and the city’s leadership in medical education and about the collections of historical homeopathic artifacts, including Dr. Hering’s books and writing, which abound in the region. Anticipation was evident in the crowd as silence fell while Ann Jerome, President, NCH Board of Directors and Sharlene Goldfischer, member, NCH Board of Directors and project author, unveiled the marker. 

Attendees signed the marker's cover (pictured to the right) to further commemorate the event. NCH then donated the cover to the Neiswander Library, a homeopathic library and research space built and curated by the Hyland's Foundation in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, for display and preservation.

The marker sits a the site of Hering's home and office at the corner of 12th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia, PA. This location is on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Convention Center - a venue that welcomes millions of visitors each year. The NCH Board of Directors hopes that this marker will help to introduce homeopathy to thousands of new people each year.

More About Constantine Hering

Constantine Hering was responsible for so many key events in the establishment of homeopathy in the United States that it’s impossible to enumerate them all. As a researcher, he introduced medicines that to this day are essential to homeopathic practice. As a teacher, he educated generations of the homeopaths who would shape the profession as it came to prominence. As a physician, he treated uncountable people, often even refusing payment for the treatment that changed their lives.  As an author, he produced volumes that are still mainstays for practicing homeopaths. As a pioneer, he helped to organize the first homeopathic medical school and the very first medical society in this country. Specimens he donated from his scientific collection and materials from his library still serve researchers and the public today. 

One of the most influential and forward-thinking things Hering did was to produce a home care manual called the Domestic Physician, first published in 1835. During Hering’s lifetime alone, it went through fourteen editions in America, two in England, and thirteen in Germany, and was translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Hungarian, Russian, and Swedish. It brought homeopathy into people’s homes by providing detailed instructions for self care in common ailments. In the introduction

 Hering described his purpose in writing this handbook:

This volume is intended as a Domestic Physician, to which parents may refer in most cases of indisposition in their families, and which will obviate the necessity of consulting a physician on every trifling occasion. To persons living in remote parts of the country, it will prove particularly valuable…

And so it did. In this growing democracy, Hering’s Domestic Physician put homeopathy into the hands of the people. The book made its way across this country and across the world, into westward expeditions and onto Civil War battlefields and beyond. Its influence is incalculable, and through it, Hering contributed not only to homeopathy’s rising popularity but also to this nation’s can-do, grassroots spirit. 

View additional photos from the ceremony.