Sue Young Histories

Dorothy Shepherd (1885 - 1952)

April 06, 2009

Dorothy Shepherd (*1885 - 1952) MD, ChB Edininburgh, was a British orthodox physician who was brought up with homeopathy and converted to homeopathy several years after she graduated. Shepherd graduated in homeopathy from the Hering College in Chicago Dorothy Shepherd was a member of the The London Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination, alongside Henry Tudor Edmunds, Henry Valentine Knaggs, Erich Kurt Ledermann, and Harold Fergie Woods and many others. Dorothy Shepherd practiced in Harley Street, and in clinics for the poor across London.

From ‘… As WW11 rolled around and trauma became a customary fair, Dorothy Shepherd wholly depended on her new medicine entirely. Since Dr. Shepherd advanced to using homeopathy full time, she never reverted to the “ways of old” again. Having a full staff at her call, she taught and instructed them in the homeopathic protocols for all emergencies including pre and post operative procedures. Her conventional antiseptics were replaced with Calendula, her protocol for broken bones was to administer Arnica, then set the bone. Conventional analgesics that carried side effects were replaced by Hypericum, Arnica and Ledum. Fever cases were given Belladonna, psychological trauma was treated with Aconite and Gelsemium. And her case load wasn’t light. London and surrounding areas where she practiced were under frequent bombings, so her experience was like working in a MASH unit, only with ill prepared civilians…’

From ‘… The new breed of Kentian homeopathy was particularly influential on the generation of British homeopaths who were born in the 1870-1890 period, because they were in a position to benefit directly from scholarships which would send them over to Chicago to receive a year’s tuition with the great man himself. James Tyler Kent died in 1916. Several key figures in British homeopathy took up these study tours including Douglas Morris Borland, John Weir, Dorothy Shepherd, Harold Fergie Woods and William Percy Purdom. It is no exaggeration to say that as a result, they returned to the UK with tales of a form of homeopathy bordering on the miraculous...’

From ‘… Dorothy Shepherd grew up in South India where her father was a missionary. She studied medicine at Heidelberg medical school and graduated from Edinburgh. She was raised with homeopathic medicine and as a child had access to a copy of Constantine Hering’s Domestic Physician. Even though she grew up in a homeopathic household in England, at the age of ten she announced her intention to pursue allopathic medical studies. Only after her conventional medical training did she investigate the medicine of her childhood. By her account: “I heard about the Hering College in Chicago. The name Constantine Hering conjured up memories of a tattered old book. I must go and find out the truth which so long had evaded me.” In 1906 Dr. Shepherd went to Chicago and began her studies at the Hering College in Chicago. Her teachers were Dienst and Tomhagen, both pupils of James Tyler Kent. When she returned to Europe Dr. Shepherd put her new skills in to practice. “I must admit that homeopathy has never let me down. Homeopathy is a life long study. It requires the burning of the midnight oil, but it is worthwhile.”… Some time in the 1940’s Dr. Shepherd established a homeopathic center in Bramshott. Little is known about it. She spent long hours providing homeopathic care to the poor in London and was well known for her service and staunch support of homeopathy. On November 15, 1952, after 45 years of service to homeopathy, Dr. Shepherd passed on. Her contributions to homeopathy through her practice and published writings helped bridge the gap during the lean years of homeopathy in the 1900s… Dorothy Shepherd grew up in a homeopathic household in England. She remembered the familiar ritual of little sugar granules dissolved in a glass of water and the thrill of sipping this mixture out of a spoon. What she does not have memories of, are wearisome days in bed and doctor’s visits. As a child she loved pouring over Constantine Hering’s Domestic Physician and at the age of ten announced, to the horror of her family, her intention of pursuing medical studies. She reached her goal and began training at Edinburgh University as well as Heidelberg and other continental schools. There was no reference to homeopathy in her training; it was a dim memory from childhood. She specialized in midwifery and surgery in women’s diseases. Her residency was spent in a “homeopathic” hospital where she spent most of her time in surgery and none learning homeopathy. The doctors at this hospital prescribed many remedies at once and patients usually left the dispensary with four or five bottles of colorless water in them. When Dorothy asked one of the doctors “why not put it all in one bottle?” she was frowned upon. Some years later these doctors finally gave up the pretense of calling themselves homeopaths but by this time she had tired of their mumbo jumbo and taken a new post as a surgeon, disgusted with so called homeopathy. Shortly thereafter, she heard about the Hering College in Chicago and James Tyler Kent. But she was still skeptical. It took the following experience to convince her. She developed excruciating sinusitis from the boat passage from England to America. A physician at the college prescribed Nux Vomica CM. He told her to expect an aggravation and then improvement. “It was all double Dutch to me. I smiled in a superior fashion and thanked him. I could not believe that such a microscopic dose could make any difference let alone give me more pain.” But of course, she did have a rapid cure of the sinusitis and subsequently threw herself into her new studies with enthusiasm. During her schooling in Chicago, she had trouble concentrating and her memory was not as strong as it used to be. On the recommendation of a fellow student, she took Tuberculinum 1M which restored her mental acuity and near photographic memory. From then on she was converted to high potencies…’

Dorothy Shepherd wrote Homeopathy in Epidemic Diseases, The Magic of the Minimum Dose, More Magic of the Minimum Dose, Homeopathy for the First Aider, A Physician’s Posy, A Dictionary of Domestic Medicine with John Henry Clarke, The New Art and Science of Medicine, Two Lectures,

Of interest:

* Dr Shepherd did only her doctoral studies in Heidelberg, then she qualified in Edinburgh. She went to America to study homeopathy in 1906. The information below was obtained from ANCESTRY, a genealogical database: Dorothy Alice Shepherd DOB 24. Aug 1885, Walter Shepherd, Henrietta Catherine Shepherd (are these the parents?), born Greenwich St Alphege, England and Wales Death Index.

And… Name: Dorothy C Shepherd, Date of Birth: 1885, Joined: Dec 1952 (don’t know the use of the word ‘joined’ in this context, but it was translated from German - perhaps when registered? Age at death: 67. Registration district: Surrey South Western, Suspected Area: Surrey. 

NB: Some sources state her DOB as 1871, but thus far we have not been able to verify either 1885 or 1871!?


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