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Thursday September 21, 2017
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Michigan's Homeopathic Hospital

 

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The new hospital was prominently situated along one of Ann Arbor's two streetcar lines, with an apple orchard in back and a wide lawn shaded by oaks in the front. In hindsight, however, its opening marked the zenith of homeopathy's time at Michigan. By 1921, the College of Homeopathy would cease to exist. The building that once filled homeopaths with pride became an adjunct to the rival medical school. Later, as North Hall, it housed the Reserve Officer Training Corps. It is scheduled for demolition in June.

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Homeopathy was one of several alternative forms of medicine jostling with one another and with traditional medicine for dominance--or mere survival--over the course of the nineteenth century. But homeopathy presented the most potent challenge to the traditional physicians Hahnemann dubbed "allopaths." The battle lasted decades, complete with casualties, intrigue, and even excommunication: any traditional physician who consulted with a homeopath lost his membership in the American Medical Association.

The passionate conflict played out on a smaller scale in Ann Arbor, where Michigan homeopaths sought to establish a professorship in the university. To do so required persuading the faculty of the Department of Medicine and Surgery, the regents, legislators, and others--whose reputations could take a hit if they supported the wrong side in the heated medical controversy.

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