I was reading about the “History of Homeopathy and its Institutions in America” written by Dr. William Harvey King, which is presented by Sylvain Cazalet on the “HOMÉOPATHE International” website; and there I came across a vast list of names, names of Homeopathic physicians of that era who in one way or another contributed to the birth of Homeopathic services in their towns and cities. It is fascinating to read about their individual experiences with homeopathy as well as the efforts and hardship they went through, to have homeopathy in their regions. If only these names could talk, they would have many untold stories.
I am investigating the biography of these people on an ongoing basis and here I wish to share with you briefly the highlights of one of these physicians by the name Dr. Joseph H. Pulte.
Dr. Pulte was the first pioneer of Homeopathy in the southern state of Ohio. His birthplace was in Mescheel, Westphalia, Germany in 1811. His father was medical director in one of the government institutions for the education of midwives. After completing a thorough literary course, Dr. Pulte graduated in medicine at the University of Marburg.
In the spring of 1834 he and his oldest brother landed in New York. His brother proceeded directly to St. Louis, while the doctor settled at Cherryville, Northampton County, where he formed a friendship with Dr. William Wesselhoff, who invited him to investigate Homeopathy. Dr. Pulte’s experiences were so satisfactory that he soon embraced homeopathy, and gave to its study his whole energy, until he had mastered it. This was no easy task, for books and repertoires were then quite unknown. Nearly all knowledge of Hahnemann’s method existed at that time in the form of manuscripts, and had to be copied for circulation.
Dr. Pulte helped in forming the first homeopathic medical society in Northampton County, and assisted in organizing and sustaining the first homeopathic medical school in the United States. On its dissolution, in 1840, Dr. Pulte left to join his brother in St. Louis, and on his way thither, became acquainted with the lady who afterward became his wife. He never completed his journey to St. Louis, but stopped at Cincinnati and became engaged in practice of his profession here. In a short time he opened a private dispensary, which was largely patronized by the poorer classes. The news of his success became known throughout the city, when the rich as well as the poor flocked to his clinic for relief.
When cholera arrived in America in 1849, Dr. Pulte took active means to spread knowledge of the best method treating and of preventing it. During the epidemic which followed, he and his partner, Dr. B. F. Ehrman, were busy day and night. The results of their efforts were extremely successful, however both of these physicians were arrested for allegedly mis-reporting the deaths from cholera. A legal investigation followed, which in every way vindicated them.
In 1850 Dr. Pulte published the “Domestic Physician,” which was soon translated into Spanish and proved very profitable, from its sales in Cuba, Spain and South America. Its sales in England were unprecedented for an American book.
As a Homeopath and activist, Dr. Pulte was successful in raising awareness about homeopathy, and in 1872, established the “Pulte Medical College”. (Below is a photo of students at Pulte Medical College.)
Students at a dissecting table – Pulte Medical College, circa 1900.
As always, God bless homeopathy and all the individuals from the past and present who contributed to it around the globe!
Heritage Pursuit by Allen Potts; and History of Homeopathy and its Institutions in America by William Harvey King.
Image info: A dissecting table at Pulte Medical College, circa 1900.
Image source: From the book Dissection – Photographs of a rite of passage in American Medicine: 1880-1930