James Tyler Kent was born on March 31, 1849 at Woodhull, New York. In 1873 he completed medical studies in allopathic, homeopathic, naturopathic and chiropractic at Institute of Eclectic Medicine in Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 25. But he had little regard for homeopathy.
In 1874 he married a Baptist like himself, settled in St. Louis and began practice. In 1876 he became the professor of anatomy at American College of St. Louis. During the same year, his wife became seriously ill and was cured by homeopath resulting in his complete and enthusiastic conversion to homeopathy.
In 1881 he accepted chair of professor of anatomy of the Homeopathic College of Missouri and then the chair of surgery. Stayed until 1888. In 1883 he became professor a of materia medica. In 1890 he became the Dean of Professors at Post-Graduate Homeopathic Medical School of Philadelphia through 1899.
During the same year, Kent lost his first wife, studied works of Swedenborg and adopted his philosophy. Kent met his second wife, Clara-Louise, a practicing physician and diagnosed her as having an incurable iatrogenic miasm of Lachesis due to too many repetitions of dose.
In 1896 Kent and his pupils saw over 18,800 patients in one year. From 1903 to 1909 he taught at Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago. In 1909 he became the Professor and dean of Hering Medical College and Hospital, Chicago.
In 1916 Kent went to his country home in Montana to rest and write a ‘real’ book but his catarrhal bronchitis turned to Bright’s disease and he died mostly from years of overwork. James Tyle Kent passed away on June 6 at Sunnyside Orchard, Montana.
Many homeopathic practitioners today still follow Kent’s early method of curing, which was to prescribe remedies using single doses of high potencies. When he taught, he would inspire his “Kentians” to use these higher potencies; and he held a strong belief that homeopaths must treat patients in their entirety, including the physical body, as well as the mental/emotional and spiritual elements, using these high potencies. Later in his career, however, Kent began using Hahnemann’s method of starting with low potencies and working up the scale by threes (6, 9, 12 etc.).
One of his greatest contributions to the profession of homeopathy, and its teachings, was his completely unique style of repertory. Although others exist, Kent’s famous repertory, The Great Repertory, is still the popular choice, and has been described as more complete, systematic and precise – with more well-described symptoms.
Kent is also known for developing “pictures” of constitutional types of patients. A well-known example would be his description of Sulphur as “the ragged philosopher.” There are many works based on Kent’s principles, including a book by one of his pupils, Margaret Tyler. Tyler further developed this idea of “pictures” into a book entitled Homeopathic Drug Pictures.
Kent is considered to have been a great homeopath; and his philosophy, homeopathic interpretations and influence have steadily continued to grow in popularity since his death.
Kent’s Repertory of theHomeopathic Materia Medica, 1897
Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy, 1900
Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica, 1905
Loosely organized detailed lecture notes straight from the classroom.
What the doctor needs to know
Kent’s Aphorisms and Precepts from extemporaneous lectures
Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica, Head, Eye, and Vision, corrected from the original manuscript, C.S. Sandhu
Kent’s Final General Repertory, Pierre Schmidt and Diwan Harish Chand, 1980
Kent’s Repertorium Generale, Jost Künzli von Fimmelsberg, 1987.