A complete history of Homoeopathy will never be written. Ameke, King and Bradford are the three best known of our historians but there are many facts and incidents that do not appear in their pages, some, because they were overlooked, some perhaps, which the author deemed of little importance, but some because they were a discredit to those of our school who were involved or to the good name of Homoeopathy itself. Yet there are innumerable incidents, numberless stories in the life of our forebears, that are of extreme interest to us of the present day. They lie buried in the pages of the old periodicals of our school, but they will bear repetition. One, for instance, about Adolph Lippe and how he converted the late Dr. H. C. Allen from a routine prescriber, breaking every rule for correct prescribing, yet an earnest seeker after truth wherever he could find it.
Several years ago, in my ninety monthly contributions to the special department of “Homoeopathic Philosophy,” in the Institute Journal, I sketched the life and accomplishments of some thirty- five of our noted homoeopathic physicians, among them Adolph von Lippe and H. C. Allen. I quote from the April number of 1942:
Lippe was the son of Count Ludwig and Countess Augusta zur Lippe, scions of an old and illustrious family, whose estate lay near the town of Goerlitz, Prussia. Here Lippe was born on the 11th of May 1812. His parents tried to persuade him to study law, but he had made up his mind to become a homoeopathic physician. He received his medical education in Berlin and, shortly after his graduation in 1837, he sailed for America and matriculated in the Allentown Academy, the only homoeopathic college then in existence. On July 27th, 1841, he received his diploma from the hand of Constantine Hering. After practicing for a short time in Pottstown, Pa., then in Carlisle, where he distinguished himself by the brilliant cures he made in an epidemic prevailing in the Cumberland Valley, he moved to Philadelphia where he practiced till the time of his death on January 24th, 1888.
Lippe was a staunch and uncompromising champion of strict Hahnemannian homoeopathy. To him the Organon was the last word in the science and art of healing the sick. In his opinion, homoeopathy, as taught by Hahnemann, offered the sole means of cure and was universally applicable in both acute and chronic diseases. All other methods were palliative, vicious and harmful. He minced no words in defending this position and vigorously assailed all who advocated what he termed the “pathologising” of the materia medica, those who practised the alternation of remedies or scoffed at high potencies.
As a boy of eleven years of age, I was the bearer of a message to Lippe from my father. The sixty intervening years (now seventy-one) have failed to dim my vivid recollection of the distinguished doctor as he stood reading the note that I had handed him. His keen, piercing eyes, his shock of white hair, high forehead and long, gray beard, are still a clear picture in my memory.
Although Lippe was the author of a few books, the number of his contributions to homeopathic literature is unsurpassed by those of any writer in this field, with the possible exception of Hering. Many of his papers are devoted to the elucidation of homoeopathic philosophy; others to the methods and rules of correct homoeopathic practice. Still others deal with the finer points of the materia medica and reports of clinical cases. A long series entitled “Fatal Errors,” appearing chiefly in the American Homoeopathic Observer, are vigorous polemics aimed at what he considered unhomoeopathic opinions and practices that were vitiating homoeopathy and causing its gradual downfall. His style was clear and forceful; his argument logical and, at times, irrefutable. If at times he seems dogmatic, it is due to the profoundness of his convictions and, perhaps, to the influence of his early education and Prussian heredity.
The late E. A. Taylor, who was a great admirer of Lippe, presented me with a full set of the Observer with the request that I proceed to have all of Lippe’s writings published in book form, but the cost of printing and the possibility that the book would have but few purchasers prevented my fulfiling his ardent desire. Yet the book would have been a veritable gold mine to those who were endeavoring to perfect themselves in the art of prescribing according to the law of similars, for this remarkable man was one of the most accomplished prescribers in the history of our School.