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Hahnemann Medical College

Chicago, Illinois

1860-1922 (?)


HathiTrust has the “Annual Announcement” for Hahnemann Medical College from 1912 to 1922. 



Hahnemann Medical College was a homeopathic medical school, named for Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathic medicine.    Chartered in 1855, the college opened in 1860.  By 1871, it began admitting women.  A year later it had 76 students—six of whom were women—with a graduating class of 32.  By 1889 enrollment reached 312—51 women.  Graduating classes remained in the 70’s for a number of years. 


By 1913 Hahnemann had increased its program to four years of eight months each.  In 1916 entrance requirements were increased to include two years of college-level work.  In 1920 Hahnemann opened  Hahnemann Junior College to provide those first two years of pre-medical education.  Also in 1920 Hahnemann began a relationship with Valparaiso University in which Hahnemann became the Medical Department of Valparaiso University, while Valparaiso provided the pre-medical education for Hahnemann.


Abraham Flexner visited Hahnemann Medical College for the Carnegie Foundation in 1909. At that time enrollment was listed as 130, part of a trend Flexner noted for homeopathic colleges.  Hahnemann explained the trend by reference to its increased requirements. There were only 16 graduates in 1914


Flexner was critical of the college.  He found the building to be “wretchedly dirty,” with only a single laboratory.  He noted that the adjoining hospital had 60 beds but did not provide clinical experience for students.  The students were not allowed in wards and were allowed only to “look on” in obstetrics.


“Annual Announcement” lists only the Y.M.C.A. as a student organization.  The Y.M.C.A. offered a weekly meeting as well as library services.  The Daily Inter Ocean reported in both 1893 and 1896 that Hahnemann had a chapter of the Ustion Society, a secret medical fraternity.


Wikipedia’s list of defunct medical schools gives a closure date of 1921.  The 1922 “Announcement” for Hahnemann shows that the relationship with the Homeopathic Hospital had ended. A 1922 Tribune reference to the Cottage Grove address refers to the school as "General Medical School."  


Bricks and Mortar

In 1870 the cornerstone was laid for a new college building.  “Old Hahnemann” opened that fall for 79 students.  After 23 years of service, “Old Hahnemann” was replaced by a new structure, built on the same spot.  New Hahnemann was a six-story, stone-front building with 78 feet of frontage on Cottage Grove Avenue. The dispensary and out-patient clinic were located on the ground floor with offices and faculty rooms on the first floor.  The upper floors contained the classrooms and laboratories.      An amphitheater that “comfortably seats between three hundred and four hundred students” took up the third floor. Through the years, new laboratories and out-patient facilities were added and upgraded.     The 140-bed, seven-story Homeopathic Hospital used for clinical work was directly connected to the college building.


The buildings have since been razed.  Google maps show a parking facility at that address today.


The October 3, 1895 Tribune notes “A football team has been organized at Hahnemann Medical College.” That program apparently continued through 1898.  For the most part, opponents were colleges and athletic clubs in the Chicago area.  These included Wheaton College, Northwestern Dental College, Racine Athletic Club, Armour Tech, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Lake Forest College, and Marshall Fields.  

In January of 1896 The Tribune reported that a football conference of Chicago area professional schools was being formed, including Hahnemann, Northwestern University Law School, Bennett Medical College, Chicago College of Dentistry and American College of Dentistry.


But Hahnemann stepped up twice to take on big time programs--University of Chicago and Northwestern University—losing 0-34 and 6-22.  For the Chicago game, Hahnemann “borrowed” three players from the Chicago Athletic Association club.


During 1912-14 the Medics took up baseball, playing such clubs as Loyola University, the University of Chicago, and high school powerhouse Wendell Phillips.  The Tribune shows a basketball loss to Armour Tech in 1920.


The 1911 Hahnemann Medical College baseball team.  Image from the 1912 "Announcement."

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