Henry Chileab AllenHenry Chileab Allen M. D. (2 October 1836 – 22 January 1909) was Professor of Diseases of the Skin and Miasmatics and founder of the Hering Medical College, City Physician at the Baptist Hospital and the Hering Hospital, an honorable senior of the American Institute of Homeopathy, a member of the International Hahnemannian Association, the Illinois Homeopathic Medical Association, the Englewood Homeopathic Medical Society, the Regular Homeopathic Medical Society of Chicago, Honorary Vice-President of the Cooper Club of London, England, Honorary Member of the Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio State Medical Societies and Honorary Member of the Homeopathic Society of Calcutta, India.

Henry C. Allen was born October 2, 1836 in the village of Nilestown, near London Ontario.

Allen was the son of Hugh and Martha Billings Allen. On his paternal side, he was a descendant of that distinguished family of Vermonters of the same name, Ira Allen and Ethan Allen, both famous in the revolution.

On his maternal side, the Billings’ were well known among the Colonial families of Massachussetts Bay, and one of them, the great-grand-father of Dr. Allen, owned the farm lands on which the present city of Salem is built.

After selling this property, the family moved to Deerfield, in the Connecticut Valley and were there at the time the Indians pillaged and ravaged that part of the country.

Allen studied medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario, Canada and received his homeopathic training at Western Homeopathic College at Cleveland, Ohio (later the Cleveland Homeopathic College), where he graduated in 1861 with high honours.

For eighteen months Allen practiced medicine under Dr. Thomas Pardon Wilson, but on the outbreak of the American Civil War he entered the Union Army, serving as a surgeon under General Ulysses S. Grant.

After the Civil War Allen was appointed professor of Anatomy at Cleveland. In 1868 he resigned this post to accept the same chair at the Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago but only remained for a term.

Allen returned to Canada, settling in Brantford, Ontario, where on December 24th, 1867, he married Selina Louise Goold and had two children, Franklin Lyman Allen and Helen Marian Allen Aird.

During 1876 – 1877 Allen worked as superintendent of the Homeopathic Mutual Life Insurance Company.

In 1878 Allen returned to the United States and practiced medicine in Detroit. Two years later in 1880 he was appointed lecturer, and the following year Professor of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Clinical Medicine in the Homeopathic Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

In 1892 Allen founded the Hering Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital in Chicago where he was Dean and Professor of Materia Medica until his death.

Allen actively worked for reinstatement of the Organon in college curricula and was largely responsible for its wide-scale use during the turn of the century. Like Hahnemann and Hering before him, Allen passionately defended the inductive method described in the Organon.

His disagreement with James Tyler Kent over the publication of unproven remedies in the Denver Critique illustrates this unwavering commitment to Hahnemann‘s principles. James Tyler Kent had promised to publish one remedy a month, but since this proved to be impossible, he described remedies for which there were no provings or clinical experience. Instead he would combine the qualities of Alumina and Silica and speculate on the symptoms that would exist in Alumina silicata.

At the Homeopathic Congress of June 1908, Allen accused James Tyler Kent of publishing unreliable Materia Medica. James Tyler Kent retracted his position and never published a “synthetic” remedy again and actually removed them from the 2nd edition of his Lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica. Allen was probably the only homeopath of his time who could stand up to James Tyler Kent.

Allen was owner and editor of the Medical Advance for several years. Besides writing many articles in this and other magazines he wrote numerous books which are still standard textbooks for modern homeopaths.

Dr. Allen sustained his youthfulness and vitality in his later years. Even into his seventies he was as active and as physically vigorous as men half his age. Known for his quick wit he was welcomed at gatherings for his lively repartee and engaging anecdotes.

Dr. Allen passed away on January 22, 1909 after working all day and seeing patients in the evening. Until his last days he was constantly working for the benefit of homeopathy.

Allen’s obituary in the North American Journal of Homeopathy noted how “As an expounder of the principles of homoeopathy and the Organon, Professor Allen attracted students to Hering College from all parts of the globe.”

One such student was Indian homeopathic doctor Harish Chandra Mukerji, Charitable Homeopathic Hospital at Gorakhpur, Jafra, founded 1880. Mukerji arranged for a silver medal to be created in honour of his teacher Allen, who served as consultant to Mukerji’s hospital.

Allen was active in promoting homeopathy worldwide and served as secretary of the International Hahnemannian Association. In a tribute to Allen, “In Memoriam,” the IHA recorded that:

“…he was one who truly gave, not only of his love and sympathy, but of his time and effort, and money, to all who needed his aid. No one will ever know how many poor and suffering he helped, nor how many needy, struggling young students and physicians he aided with advice, and money and encouragement. To the young, and especially women in the profession, he was a tower of strength.”

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