Sue Young Histories

Carroll Dunham 1828 - 1877

April 06, 2008

carroll DunhamCarroll Dunham 1828 - 1877 Dean of Faculty at the New York Homeopathic Medical College. He was also President of the American Institute of Homeopathy and he has ‘… done more for the interests of homeopathy than any other man since the time of Hahnemann… (From: Our Noble and Beloved Carroll Dunham by Dr. André Saine)’

Carroll Dunham travelled to Vienna to study with Philipp Anton Watzke and Franz Wurmb.

Dunham graduated from Columbia University with Honours in

  1. In 1850 he received M.D. degree at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York.

in 1852 began practice in Brooklyn. In 1858 he removed to Newburgh, and in 1863 to Irvington.

While in Dublin, he received a dissecting wound that nearly killed him, but with the aid of homoeopathy he cured himself with Lachesis.

He visited various homoeopathic hospitals in Europe and then went to Munster where he stayed with Dr. Boenninghausen and studied the methods of that great master.

Caroll Dunham studied under Constantine Hering and Boenninghausen among others and exchanged with P P Wells, Benjamin F Joslin, Adolph Lippe and Henry Newell Guernsey

Carroll Dunham had visited Boenninghausen in Germany and witnessed the efficacy of the two-hundredths commonly used by this accomplished homeopath.

He was a voluminous writer. For twenty-five years, he regularly contributed articles. Among his works are ’Lectures on Materia Medica’ and ’Science of Therapeutics’. Whatever subject he touched he treated it with the best of his ability and revealed his thorough grasp of the fundamental principles.

Under the stress of his large practice he developed rheumatic carditis. The old school specialists gave up but once again homoeopathy saved him. His friend Dr. Constantine Hering prescribed Lithium carb. which cured him.

He then set out to organize the ”World Homoeopathic Convention” which had been his dream of many years. The convention was a resounding success, but it exhausted him. He took to bed in December 1876 and passed away on February 18, 1877 in his 49th year.

Dunham’s efforts produced the LIGA International Homeopathic Medical League:

The International Homeopathic Medical League is a worldwide association of homeopathic medical physicians, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists and members of allied contributing professions which was established officially in 1925 under Swiss law.

But its roots extend as deeply into the American Homeopathic soil as the United States of 1866…

Tullio Suzzara Verdi, M.D., of Washington moved that the subject of establishing institutes in other countries similar to, and to be in correspondence with, the American Institute of Homeopathy, which was presented at the last session, be referred to a special committee.

The motion was carried, and Drs. Carroll Dunham, Tullio Suzzara Verdi, Israel Tisdale Talbot, and B. De Gersdorff were appointed as the committee…

Carroll Dunham was born on the 29th of October 1828, in New York City, the youngest of four sons of Edward Wood Dunham and Maria Smyth Parker. Both parents having come from old, prominent families of New Brunswick, New Jersey, Edward Dunham moved his young family to New York from New Brunswick in 1820.

Mr. Dunham was a highly regarded and prosperous merchant of strictest integrity and most exact business methods, a man of learning and culture who provided for his son a complete education. He retired from business in 1853 having honorably acquired an ample fortune, afterward becoming President of the Corn Exchange Bank which post he held until death.

Mrs. Dunham, a lady of gentleness combined with prudence and firmness, died in a cholera epidemic (1832 or 1834) when Carroll was a young boy… He almost died then, as well. Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Brooklyn and, at an appropriate age, Carroll was sent to boarding school.

In 1843, he entered Columbia University at the age of fifteen. In 1847, he graduated from that institution with honors.

Carroll Dunham was studious even as a boy, preferring reading to play, especially if the latter were boisterous, but he was naturally and always cheerful and friendly. He inherited the gentleness, firmness and prudence of his mother and the business aptitude, energy and uprightness of his father.

In 1847, as were his and his father’s wishes, young Dunham began the study of medicine under Dr. Whittaker, an “old school” physician of much repute in the training of medical students.

While pursuing his medical studies, he was cured of a serious illness by a homeopathic physician after eminent “regular” practitioners had failed to help him, which event deeply impressed the senior Dunham and himself.

He then took up the study of homeopathic medicine, comparing the two schools. He received his medical degree in 1850 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York at Crosby Street, whose courses and clinics he had faithfully attended all the while. While he was there, his prior mental training and innate ability permitted him to outperform his fellow students but he would assist those with difficulties and he took to explaining the lecturers of each day to a select group drawn to him in their need for aid.

After graduation, young Dr. Dunham traveled to Philadelphia to meet Dr. Constantine Hering, recognized as one of the most learned physicians of the new school. He not only gained valuable teaching and indispensable advice, he said,

"I gained the most helpful, generous, and genial friend I have ever made."

In that same year, he left for Europe to amplify his medical education. He was an “interne” at Dublin’s Lying-in-Hospital and studied the Stoker treatment of fevers at Meath Hospital. While in Dublin, he suffered a life-threatening dissecting wound and, when the resident physician had given up on him, he turned to homeopathy, curing himself with Lachesis.

Next he went to Paris where he studied under Bouillard, Velpeau, Armand Trousseau, Ricord, Simon, Heurteloup, among others, all the while visiting the Homeopathic Hospital headed by Jean Paul Tessier Senior.

Continuing his studies, he went briefly to Berlin and then on to Vienna where he remained for several months attending hospital clinics of Franz Wurmb and the lecturers of Kaspar on Materia Medica.

From there, he went to Münster and became the devoted pupil of Dr. Von Boenninghausen who learned to appreciate his tireless industry and active intelligence. He presented himself daily at Boenninghausen’s practice, taking meticulous notes of cases seen and results achieved.

Throughout his European stay, he had written daily to his father with whom he had an unusual degree of affection and confidence. Thus, he became a clear and concise writer which stood him in good stead for articles, as well as for correspondence, the latter of which he maintained lifelong with many eminent homeopaths from around the world with whom he easily had become friends.

In 1851, he returned to the U.S.A. thoroughly convinced of the veracity of homeopathic medicine and possessed of a predigious knowledge of its materia medica for which he had a special aptitude, as well as a marvellous understanding of the drug action in the human being.

He established a practice in Brooklyn. He did not need the financial rewards of practice for his own support nor did his less than robust health lend itself to the rigors of private practice, yet he pursued it out of humane motives and generous enthusiasm to bring benefit to the sick and the suffering through the application of the considerable theoretical knowledge that he had attained.

His success in Brooklyn was so great that Dr. P P Wells, who had been the Dunham family physician for many years, said, “He was always my friend, never my pupil.”

In February, 1854, he married Miss Harriet E. Kellogg, daughter of (homeopath) Edward Kellogg and his wife Esther F. Kellogg, a woman of remarkable beauty and exceptional mind. They were so close that they warned their children that the death of one would be followed closely by that of the other, which was born out by hers less than a year after his, during which time she collected his writings for publication.

In 1855 or 56, he traveled to Europe again for health reasons after 5 or 6 years of successful practice in Brooklyn punctuated by spells of illness, one lasting several months. He spent several weeks in Münster with Boenninghausen, renewing his studies there, spending the better part of each day at his office. He traveled to Italy for the winter where he learned Italian and brushed up on anatomy.

In 1857, he returned to Brooklyn but he suffered a tendency to a disease of the throat which prompted him to move to Newburgh, N.Y. in 1858. There, he had not intended to practice, but had such remarkable success in a few cases pressed on him by urgency that he soon built up a busy professional practice.

However, in 1863 or 64 he again became ill, traveling to the West Indies and other places seeking health and relief. He developed cardiac rheumatism and returned to New York City. Leading specialists of the old school whose advice was sought pronounced him not long for this world.

He then consulted Dr. Constantine Hering who, after meticulous examination of the symptoms prescribed the single remedy, Lithium carb which promptly cured him.

Soon after, he moved to Irvington-on-Hudson described as a picturesque, beautiful village wherein he resided until his death. But he maintained an office and a consulting practice in New York City on certain days of the week.

In 1871, Dr. Dunham first broached the possibility at an American Institute of Homeopathy meeting of an international congress of homeopaths on the occasion of the American centennial in 1876 which idea was received enthusiastically and a committee was appointed with him as the chairman.

But, his health failed him again and, in the fall of 1874, he left for Europe, this time accompanied by his family. He was so doubtful of his quest that he resigned all of his positions of responsibility before leaving. Nevertheless, while in Europe, he courted the European homeopaths on behalf of the concept of the World’s Congress.

In 1875, he returned to the U.S.A. finding himself so unexpectedly improved in his health, strength, and spirits that he took up his previous occupations. That year, he was honored with his election to the Presidency of the American Institute of Homeopathy for 1876 so as to be so in the year of the World’s Congress.

On April 27, 1876, he wrote to a professional friend about that Congress saying,

“The responses of our friends from abroad are very gratifying. Two years ago I had not much confidence; but when I found that the thing was to be, I determined that it should be a success.”

This letter contained a list taking up 1,456 pages of large paper of foreign communications in a half dozen languages. More communications came in May and in early June. He performed or personally supervised the translating, abridging, correcting, proofing of this voluminous material into a published work. In addition, he managed the general arrangements of the convention in Philadelphia.

He wrote at the time,

“Of course, I have convention on the brain. I eat, sleep and live it; and have put some of my best blood into it; but hope to have some left, when all is over.”

Ironic words, as it turned out.

During the sessions, held at the end of June, 1876, the heat was frequently 100°F in the shade, but he stuck to his post, conscientiously performing all of his duties though in danger of prostration daily. Afterwards, he left Philadelphia for the Upper Lakes, exhausted by his efforts. He returned much improved but immediately contracted diphtheria from which his convalescence was slow.

He resumed his responsibilities too early, but found it impossible not to do so in the face of unfulfilled duties. His strength, never recovered, waxed and waned, until he took to his bed for the last time on December 2, 1876. He was cared for by his family and by Dr. P P Wells and Dr. Benjamin F Joslin until February 18, 1877, when he died in his sleep. Both physicians laid his demise at the feet of no disease but the exhaustion produced by the excessive labors related to the World’s Congress.

Dr. Dunham was editor of the ”American Homeopathic Review” from 1860-63. In 1865, he was made Professor of Materia Medica at New York Homeopathic Medical College and later became its Dean, reorganizing it and establishing it permanently and prosperously.

He was an original incorporator of the New York State Homeopathic Asylum for the Insane, the first institution of its kind in the world. He was President of the New York County Homeopathic Medical Society, always attending meetings with small scientific papers in his pockets case of “no-shows.”

The American Institute of Homeopathy initial Committee on Foreign Correspondence named in 1867 included the aforementioned Tullio Suzzara Verdi, who originally made the proposal, and Carroll Dunham, as well as Israel Tisdale Talbot of Boston, M.D., and B. De Gersdorff, Salem, MA.

Their report was made to the Twenty-First Session of the AIH, St. Louis, June 2-5, 1868. It indicated that soon after the close of the previous year’s session, they had devised a circular letter to be sent to officers of homeopathic societies and individual homeopathic physicians around the world. This circular letter was translated into French and into German, as well.

Dr. Tullio Suzzara Verdi was to write to the French and Italian associations and physicians; Dr. B. De Gersdorff was to correspond with the German ones and Drs. Israel Tisdale Talbot and Carroll Dunham were to address those in Great Britain, Spain, South America, Australia, and the West Indies.

Dunham and Israel Tisdale Talbot reported sending the circular letter to the Homeopathic Society of Brazil, Dr. Muralles, Secretary; to 24 physicians at Valparaiso, Buenos Aires, Pernambuco, Bahia, Santiago, Montevideo, Maranham, Rio Grande, and Rio De Janeiro; to the homeopathic society at Madrid, Dr. Nuñez, President, and to 43 physicians in Spain; to 13 physicians is the Spanish and the British West Indies, 3 physicians in Australia, 1 physician at Cape of Good Hope; and to 7 homeopathic societies and 178 physicians in Great Britain.

Replies were received only from England in the form of letters from several physicians acknowledging the circular letter and extending expressions of good will and sympathy for the cause. Several of the British journals republished the circular with their approval and willingness to cooperate.

Dr. Moore of Liverpool who was dispatched as a delegate to this Institute meeting brings the charge of the Liverpool Society to unite with the American Institute of Homeopathy, but express doubt that there is sufficient strength now to form a national association in the U.K…

In that same Philadelphia session, Dr. Pemberton Dudley rose to propose a resolution that a committee be appointed to consider the subject of a proposed International Homeopathic Congress to be held on the serendipitous occasion of the American Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia in 1876.

This resolution was signed by Constantine Hering, M.D., Philadelphia, Carroll Dunham, M.D., New York; Robert J. McClatchey, M.D., Philadelphia; William Tod Helmuth, M.D., New York; Bushrod W. James, M.D., Philadelphia; Israel Tisdale Talbot, M.D., Boston; Walter Williamson, M.D., Philadelphia; Timothy F. Allen, M.D., New York; Tullio Suzzara Verdi, M.D., Washington, D.C.; Reuben Ludlam, M.D., Chicago; Pemberton Dudley, M.D., Philadelphia; Edwin. M. Kellogg, M,D., New York; Henry Newell Guernsey, M.D., Philadelphia; Henry M. Smith, M.D., New York; Seth R. Beckwith, M.D., Cincinnati; and T. C. Duncan, M.D., Chicago. This resolution was adopted and its signers made the Committee…

In his Report to the Twenty-Fifth Session of the American Institute of Homeopathy, held in Washington, D.C., May 21, 22, 23, and 24, 1872, Dr. Dunham mentioned the status of homeopathic physicians in Cuba. Civil War there had driven Dr. José J. Navarro, a graduate of the New York Homeopathic College to Jamaica and a Dr. Houard who claimed U. S. citizenship but had long resided in Cuba was freed from a long, harsh incarceration in Havanna after U.S. government intervention.

Dr. Dunham went on to review the improved state of organization for homeopathy that had occurred in the several countries subsequent to the mailing of the circular letter of 1867: National Associations had been established in Italy and Switzerland and revived in Britain, France, and Germany…

The Committee on a World’s Convention of Homeopathic Physician’s also presented its report at the Twenty-Fifth Session (1872) of the American Institute of Homeopathy. The Chairman Dr. Constantine Hering, not being present, the report was made by Dr. Carroll Dunham. continue reading:

Carroll Dunham was a cousin of Clemence Lozier (the cousin of Hannah Walker Harned, Clemence Lozier’s mother - in fact Harriette C Keatinge, Anna Manning Comfort, Amelia A Comfort, Jennie V H Baker, Emily L Smith and Charlotte H Wooley were all relatives and all homeopaths. Clemence Lozier’s daughter in law Charlotte Denman Lozier was also a homeopath as was her brother William Harned).

Carroll Denman was a practiced diplomat. He offered a solution to the American Institute of Homeopathy about orthodox, eclectic and lay practitioners. Despite his devotion to strict Hahnemannian homeopathy, he forcefully argued that homeopaths remember their own struggle for liberty against restrictive practices which so interfered with free thought and expression and which threatened to shut out all knowledge that differed from elite groups (André SaineTeachings Psychiatric Patients, (B. Jain Publishers (P) Ltd)).

Dunham did not want an exclusive creed in homeopathy and he preferred a broad church within which education about homeopathy with a common membership should be the rule, otherwise orthodox physicians, women and homeopaths who wished to try new methods and incorporate new experimental results would be excluded and without guidance, could potentially practice harmful medicine, which could never ‘promote medical science’:

The banners under which the factions assembled were, respectively, those of high and low potency prescribing, but the grounds for disagreement between them were much wider than this and extended to almost every aspect of homeopathy.

Matters came to a head in 1870 at a meeting of the American Institute of Homeopathy, at which Carroll Dunham, the president, made an important speech. To be a homeopath, he said, required adherence to a fundamental therapeutic law, but there could be disagreement about its detailed interpretation.

He himself was a purist, a rigid Hahnemannian; nevertheless he had to acknowledge the existence of self-styled homeopaths who thought otherwise, and the right way to deal with them, he believed, was not to proscribe them but to encourage free and open discussion.

The pure Hahnemannians thus separated into the International Hahnemannian Association and the confusion that arose from this debate is the basis for the split between doctor homeopaths and lay homeopaths which has developed in the same debate ongoing today, and it is as divisive and damaging as ever.

It mirrors the animosity between orthodox and alternative practitioners and can only lead to bitterness and damage to medical care. For homeopathy the result of this dispute was devastating when modern pharmaceutical methods arrived, appearing at first to be so promising and now proving to be so damaging and destructive. Iatrogenic illness is a scourge on the modern World which is not addressed due to the pressure of ‘elites’ which can operate as appallingly as ever.

The formation of ‘elites’ has always been a problem in human society and has always been divisive and counter productive, and will remain so until people really learn how to embrace not just diversity and equality, but development and new ideas. It is a terrible shame that Carroll Dunham died so young and could not press his point. Although women did make it into medicine both allopathic and homeopathic, dreadful divisions still exist on both sides of our Divided Legacy.

We are in great and desperate need of a modern day Carroll Dunham for this task today.

Although Dunham never wrote a book, his writings are voluminous. From each one of his essays emerges the excellence, clarity and originality of his perception.

Soon after his death some of his best writings were assembled by his wife and published in a book called Homœopathy, The Science of Therapeutics… His Lectures on Materia Medica are a posthumous publication of the notebook used to give his lectures…

In 1870 he made a notable presentation before the American Institute of Homeopathy (AIH) called ‘Freedom of Medical Opinion and Action: a Vital Necessity and a Great Responsibility’.

In 1853, Carroll married Harriet E. Kellogg (1828-1878), the daughter of Edward and Esther Kellogg of Brooklyn, New York. They lived in Irvington, New York, and had six children: Carroll, Edward Kellogg, Theodore, Herbert, Constantine, and Beatrice.

Herbert and Constantine both died before one year. Harriet’s sister, Amelia Nash (Kellogg) Henshaw—affectionately called “Aunt Rabbit,” studied under artist Samuel Colman (Anne Lawrence Dunham’s husband).

Beatrice Dunham was a prolific writer of stories and verses. She and other family members also compiled a family magazine called “The Phoenix.”

Edward Kellogg Dunham (1860-1922) (also a homeopath) was well known for his work in the fields of pathology and bacteriology. He earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1886 then studied for a period at Robert Koch’s laboratory in Berlin where he discovered the “cholera-red” reaction. After returning to the United States, he worked for the Board of Health Commission in Boston and later became professor of pathology at the Bellevue Medical College of New York University.

During World War I, he worked in U.S. Army hospitals, researching and treating meningitis cases. Soon he became involved in treating soldiers infected with empyema (a lung disease related to pneumonia) and in 1918 was appointed chairman of the “Empyema Commission.”

After Edward’s death his empyema research was published by his wife, Mary (Dows) Dunham, and several of his colleagues. In 1923 Mary gave an endowment to Harvard Medical School for the establishment of the “Edward Kellogg Dunham Lectures for the Promotion of the Medical Sciences.”

In 1893 Edward married Mary Dows (1865-1936), daughter of David Dows (1814-1890) and Margaret (Worcester) Dows (1831-1909), also of Irvington, N.Y. David Dows headed the New York firm, David Dows and Company, one of the largest grain dealers in the country. He also served on the Board of Directors of Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Co.

Mary was stricken with polio as a child and was left partially disabled. She suffered from almost constant pain throughout her life, nevertheless, traveled extensively and pursued various artistic and philanthropic activities. Mary became interested in photography at a young age and was encouraged in her endeavors by artist Samuel Colman (Anne Lawrence Dunham’s husband). She traveled to the western United States and Europe numerous times before her marriage to Edward in 1893.

Mary and Edward traveled together in Europe, Egypt, and the Western U.S. from the 1890s to the 1910s. In Egypt, they journeyed down the Nile River on a houseboat for three weeks in 1906. Edward and Mary had two children: Theodora Dunham (1895-1983) and Edward Kellogg Dunham, Jr. (1901-1951).

Soon after the birth of their daughter Theodora, Edward and Mary moved from Litchfield, Connecticut, to New York City. In 1898 they built a house in Seal Harbor, Maine, which they named “Keewaydin.” The Dows family had spent many summers in Seal Harbor and several of Mary’s siblings also made it their summer home.

During World War I, Mary and Theodora were involved with the American Fund for French Wounded (AFFW), an organization which provided medical and material aid to wounded soldiers and refugees. Theodora went to France to work as a volunteer at the front from 1916 to 1917. Mary organized volunteers in both New York City and in Seal Harbor to send relief packages overseas for the AFFW workers there to distribute to refugees and soldiers.

During the early twentieth century, Mary and Edward were involved in various philanthropic activities in New York and Seal Harbor. They worked with the New York Cooking School and several New York City hospitals to establish a cooking school for nurses with the aim of improving hospital food service.

In Seal Harbor, Edward tested the milk of the local dairy farms, and Edward and Mary helped to organize the Mount Desert Chapter of the American Red Cross for which both Mary and Edward Dunham, Jr., were board members. The family was also active in the Seal Harbor Village Improvement Society.

Edward Kellogg Dunham, Jr. (1901-1951), was graduated from Harvard University in 1922, and worked as assistant manager for the Corn Exchange Bank (his great-grandfather’s institution) in New York through the 1920s.

After that, much of his time was occupied with other financial activities as treasurer of Dows Estates (established with the estate of his grandparents) and as trustee of his mother’s estate. Edward lived for a few years in the western United States where, in 1933, he met and married Anne (“Nancy”) Yellott. Edward and Nancy had two children: Edward Kellogg Dunham III and Elizabeth Dunham.

They eventually moved to New York City and spent their summers in Seal Harbor where Edward continued in his parents’ philanthropic footsteps.

Carroll Dunham, great, great grandson and great grandson of homeopathic Physicians and major artist.

The Dunham Family Archive is here.

The Dunham Family Papers are a diverse collection of material documenting the personal and professional activities of four generations of the Dunham, Kellogg and Dows families from 1814 to 1951. The bulk of the material dates from 1855 to 1951.

Of interest:

In an ironic encounter, Cecilia Payne Gaposchkin, the great grand daughter of homeopath James John Garth Wilkinson, had an unexpected meeting with Theodore Dunham Junior, Scientific Director of the Fund for Astrophysical Research from its founding in 1936 until his death in 1984, who was himself the grandson of homeopath Carroll Dunham.


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