Suggested Research Topics - Homeopathy or Allopathy: The Fight over Medical Education at the University of Michigan, 1848-1913

In 1848, practitioners of homeopathy petitioned the legislature to include homeopathy in the medical curriculum. Subsequent agitation by supporters and detractors of homeopathy led to a controversy that continued through the years with legislative maneuvers, injunctions, and petitions to the regents. In 1875, a separate Homeopathic College was established with two faculty members; students enrolled in the new college took non-homeopathic courses in the Medical College. A separate Homeopathic hospital was established in 1879 and occupied various quarters until a new building was erected in 1900 (North Hall). Dissension flared up several times in the 1890s, with the biggest issues revolving about attempts to amalgamate the two schools of medicine and attempts to remove the Homeopathic College to Detroit. By 1922, the controversies had died down and the two schools were merged without incident. The Homeopathic College was closed in 1922 due to financial problems.

What is the background of the homeopathy versus allopathy controversy nation-wide? What constitutional questions were involved in the longtime debate and controversy? What role did the regents take in the controversy? the state legislature? the faculty? Compare the medical education offered by the two schools. What factors led to the closure of the Homeopathic College?

Examples of Primary Source Collections and Other Resources:

Definitions:
Homeopathy:
A system of medical practice that treats a disease especially by the administration of minute doses of a remedy that would in healthy persons produce symptoms of the disease treated.
Allopathy:
A system of medical practice making use of all measures proved of value in treatment of disease, i.e., conventional medicine exclusive of homeopathic practices.

In an effort to encourage creative thinking about possible research topics for students unfamiliar with archives and their inevitable complexities, archivists and student employees of the Bentley Historical Library have authored "suggested research topics ." The purpose of these is not to define a topic but rather to stimulate thinking about a topic where the holdings of the Bentley Library are particularly strong.