Counts of physicians in the state listings of licensed homeopaths, from 1825 to 1862 (1863-1870 data excluded from these graphs). The upper left figure demonstrates four years that are important to the establishment of this profession. The upper right depicts the four major contributors to this growth in numbers. The lower left depicts stacked, cumulative over time counts from 1825 to 1862, and five peaks years defined by this illustration. The lower right figure depicts cumulative over time counts, by individual states.
Also important to note is the fact that New York had two major peaks in licensure (1852 and 1857), followed by Pennsylvania, Ohio and Massachusetts, which shared the growth in this profession with New York in 1857.
From 1840 to 1850, New York had a number of smaller peaks depicting the growth of practitioners.
The lower left figure depicts a fifth peak in growth that is historically important to the profession, 1836 +/- 1 year, when German speaking schools were opened in Allentown, PA.
The profession grew quite rapidly once the textbooks and related resources were translated into English, by various local physicians residing across the United States.
Due to the Civil War (1861, esp. 1862 on), the growth of this profession slowed briefly. Following the Civil war, it took off and became one of the most popular non-allopathic professions, with its own schools, hospitals and teaching clinics or institutions established by the end of the 19th century. The last official homeopathic teaching hospital closed its doors around 1935 (Portland OR). Many of the older schools and teaching centers remain in use today as they were purchased by their allopathy competitors.
Due to their popularity, and their management mostly by religious institutions, homeopathic schools were at times more popular than the allopathic schools. A typical hospital managed by a religious group had separate wards for allopaths, eclectics and homeopaths. In 1852-3 in Ohio, the allopathic wards on occasion had to be shut down due to lack of patients when compared with the other facilities (Ref: Lancet, Western Lancet, and Eclectic Medical Journal articles for the time).
Homeopathy is popular due to its "philosophy" and the lack of true chemical toxicity for its therapeutic agents. Homeopaths typically utilized less aggressive methods of therapy than allopathy, and sometimes even eclectic medicine and chiropractics. Homeopathy also avoided the use of "toxic" plants, chemicals and mineral remedies so common to allopathy. Yet most people conferred, then as now, that this treatment philosophy is best applied to non-acute medical problems or conditions.
This is the first of several studies initiated to track the migration of homeopaths and homeopathy about the United States during its first decades of practice and growth in popularity.