History of Kent’s Repertory and Treasure

Introduction In 1972, as a student of homeopathy, I had already realized that Kent’s Repertory third American and later editions, had many printing mistakes, and it surprised me that these errors had not been rectified by Dr. Kent. On closer examination I realized that the publication of the Third Edition appeared in 1924, after June 5, 1916 (the date of Dr. Kent’s death) and it occurred to me that Dr. Kent had never had the chance to correct these errors. Logically, therefore, I tried to locate the second edition of the Repertory. I had spoken to Mr. Roger Ehrhart (the last of the Ehrhart family that owned the famous Homeopathic Pharmacy of Ehrhart and Karl-original publishers of Kent’s Repertory Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth American Editions) in 1972 when he was still alive but he could not give me much help. It was not clear if the library of Ehrhart and Karl had this second edition (of Kent’s own repertory or an uncovered one). A paper in the January-February 1963 AIH Journal by Dr. K.C. Mittal was the first clue to the existence of Kent’s own personal repertory and this repertory was in the possession of Dr. Schmidt of Geneva, Switzerland. In June, 1972 I had the opportunity to be in Geneva, Switzerland and spoke to Dr. Pierre Schmidt about the errors I had observed in Kent’s Repertory, the paper of Dr. Mittal, and asked for him to shed light on the matter. He informed me that Dr. Mittal had come to Geneva and diligently worked with Kent’s own personal copy of the second edition of the repertory (abbreviated as “Treasure” from here on) and had copied carefully every correction from the Treasure into his own copy of the 6th American Edition 1957. In addition, Dr. Mittal had also copied every correction from the two chapters “Mind and Generalities” into a copy of an Indian edition belonging to Dr. Pierre Schmidt which he showed me. This was a specially bound book (I believe this book had a green cover with special “spring” action separators between the various chapters). In it were very neatly copied corrections in a very symmetrical handwriting. A facsimile of one such page (Chapter of Mind) is printed in the so-called Kent’s Final General Repertory. It is to be noted that the handwriting on this facsimile is completely different from Kent’s signature also appearing in this book in the preface. The handwriting is probably Dr. Mittal’s. Dr. Pierre Schmidt informed me that, after carefully doing this work, Dr. Mittal had run away from Switzerland taking the Treasure with him as well as, of course, his own copy (6th American Edition of Kent’s Repertory) in which he had made the corrections from the Treasure and that if this copy could be traced it would be as good as the Treasure. Dr. Mittal’s copy will be referred to as MKR in what follows. In addition, I made the acquaintance of Mme. Dora Schmidt Nagel, wife of Dr. Pierre Schmidt, Homeopathic pharmacist and owner of Laboratoire Homeopathique de Mme. Schmidt. This noble and gracious lady was the one who later on was to make possible the finding of the Treasure. The Search In 1973 I wound up my duties as Assistant Professor at a university in the USA to start the study of medicine at the University of Brussels. My motivation for giving up a previous profession as a mathematician lay in the inspiration I had received in the study of Kent’s incredible Lectures in Homeopathic Philosophy, Materia Medica and Repertory. It was a dream and a deep intuitive feeling that Homeopathy could perhaps again triumph on the earth and regain its past glory in the healing of the nations; and that using the techniques of mathematics and computers I might play some role in the solution of medical problems. As a mathematician I had even written a working computer program in the Fortran language for such repertorization and diagnosis of diseases. I was further inspired and encouraged by two wonderful friends, Mrs. Audrey Winthers (daughter of Dr. A.H. Grimmer, one of Kent’s foremost student who had entrusted me with her father’s original manuscripts-a work which appeared in 1996 as The Collected Works of Dr. A.H. Grimmer) and Joseph L. Kaplowe, M.D., of New Haven, Connecticut, also a homeopathic doctor, author of many papers in the Homeopathic Recorder, the foremost homeopathic journal in U.S.A. During my years as a medical student I had many occasions to speak of the problem of Kent’s repertory with Mme. Schmidt whose gracious help and encouragement in my days as a medical student really were instrumental in my success at completing my M.D. In 1978 Mme. Schmidt wrote a letter to Dr. Mittal and gave it to me to present to him personally when I went for a 3 week vacation to India. Mme. Schmidt told me that it was Dr. Eugene Alonzo Austin, beloved student of Kent who had passed on the Treasure to Dr. Pierre Schmidt in 1939, when the latter physician, had traveled to the U.S. to learn homeopathy with two of Kent’s best students: Dr. Frederica Gladwin and Dr. Eugene Alonzo Austin. Dr. Frederica Gladwin originally had acquired one of the three originally hand corrected (by Kent himself) 2nd Editions of Kent Repertories and had passed her copy to Dr. Austin or Dr. Schmidt. It is not clear if Dr. Gladwin passed her copy directly to Dr. Schmidt or to Dr. Austin who subsequently passed it on to Dr. Schmidt, together with a ring belonging to Dr. Kent, which Dr. Schmidt wore for the rest of his life. However, these corrections, which Dr. Austin had earnestly urged be incorporated, were never incorporated in the post-war editions of the repertory (Fourth, Fifth and Sixth American Editions). The problem in finding Dr. Mittal was hard as he rarely stayed in one place, but after zig-zagging from Delhi to Lucknow to Delhi to Amrisar I finally located him and presented him with the letter from Mme Schmidt. This opened the doors of my search. I spent one whole evening talking with Dr. Mittal. He told me that indeed he had taken the Treasure for many reasons. I had heard several of them but since they are not of immediate bearing in this discussion they need not be entertained for now. I still, to this day, have a 45 minute tape of part of this conversation with Dr. Mittal. It was agreed that every effort would be made by Dr. Mittal and myself to have these corrections incorporated. However I saw neither the Treasure nor Dr. Mittal’s repertory (MKR). Dr. Mittal informed me that he had been pursued by Dr. Schmidt and Dr. Chand who had called for the services of Interpol to retrieve the Treasure. He said that he had been constantly harassed and threatened and was fleeing from these people. The Treasure, however, was never found and, in fact, Dr. Mittal had cut up the Treasure into bits and pieces, some of which he currently carried on his person and some of which were hidden in a village. Dr. Mittal informed me that his copy as well as the bits and pieces of the Treasure were kept in another town of which he would tell me at another occasion when I returned. During this visit to India I also met with Dr. D. H. Chand at his home in Delhi, saw the Indian edition belonging to Dr. Pierre Schmidt mentioned in the introduction, and also several hundred bits of the Treasure and some pages of the Treasure. The Return After this first visit in February, 1978 there was sporadic correspondence between Dr. Mittal and myself. In 1980 I had occasion to return to India for vacation and again, after considerable effort, I was able to locate Dr. Mittal. Together we traveled to a small village, Rampur, where he had told me he had hidden his copy of the repertory together with the remains of the Treasure. I endured the discomforts of a slow long train journey. At Rampur the head of the family who had kept the MKR and cut up bits of the Treasure and Dr. Mittal conferred by themselves and then told me that I would have to return another time as the books were hidden in a small wood hut in the fields and the 14 mile trip by motorcycle was not possible at this time. In vain I explained that I had limited time and that I had come so far from the U.S.A. However, after much persuasion they asked me to return in 7 days. It was with great discouragement I returned to my home in Bombay. Despite my discouragement I vowed to try once more before returning to the U.S.A. I left Bombay and met Dr. Mittal in Delhi. We again journeyed to Rampur. This time Dr. Mittal asked the man to produce his books and after a lot of argument a large bundle wrapped in a large, dirty cloth was produced and the contents dumped out on the ground. Among them was Dr. Mittal’s copy of the repertory (MKR), another Indian edition of the repertory, a copy of the First Edition of Kent’s Repertory published in 1899 and two volumes of Lectures on Materia Medica given by Kent in 1895 at the Hering Medical College and typed by his students. These Dr. Mittal bade me take with me to the U.S.A. In addition he entrusted me with thousands of pieces of the Treasure that had been cut up. With this I departed for Delhi and from thence my flight to the U.S.A. At the stopover in Frankfurt I phoned Mme. Schmidt and, with joy, told her of the recovered treasures: 1) the MKR 2) the several thousand pieces of the Treasure 3) a copy of the First American Edition of Kent’s Repertory 4) a set of 2 volume lecture notes on Materia Medica belonging to Mary Florence Taft with an inscription inside as being presented to Betty Prescott Dolbease and Louis Prescott Dolbease 5) a typed paper written by Dr. K.C. Mittal entitled The Importance of Kent’s Repertory in the Clinic and Practice delivered at the International Congress for Homeopathic Medicine, (LIGA) in Dusseldorf, Germany, Sept., 1962. Examination For two years I reviewed the material entrusted to me by Dr. Mittal. There were several thousand pieces of the Treasure (in Kent’s own handwriting) that were cut up. I spent several hundred hours identifying several hundreds of these to see where they fit in the Third and later American Editions and then compared these with the MKR. I found that the MKR had the exact corrections of these several hundred bits (a slide of several of these bits has been shown in the past). There are also 44 almost complete pages (22 double sided sheets) of the Treasure, easily identifiable as being from the Chapter on Extremities. One easily recognizes the handwriting of Dr. J.T. Kent in these and it is clear that this is quite different from that appearing in the 1980 Indian Edition (in Dr. Harish Chand’s Office) .The handwriting therein seems to be that of Dr. Mittal. The agreement of the bits of the Treasure as well as of the 44 almost complete pages with MKR therefore leads to the conclusion that the MKR (Dr. K.C. Mittal’s copy of the 6 th American Edition of Kent’s Repertory) is a true and correct version of the Treasure (Dr. Kent’s personal copy of the Second Revised Edition). The identification of the bits of the Treasure is difficult, not only because only a part of the rubric is visible, but because the bits of the treasure are from the Second Edition while the comparison is made with a Third or Fourth or Fifth or Sixth American Edition, (with different pagination). It is of course clear that the back of each Second Edition bit will be either 1 or 3 consecutive columns ahead or behind where it appears in the Third Edition. Conclusion I am very indebted to Dr. Mittal for making these works available to enable the repertory of Kent to be completed as Dr. Kent had himself envisioned. In 1980, in India, a revision of Kent’s repertory was published under a new title, “Kent’s Final General Repertory” instead of the original title. “Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.” This book was “Revised, corrected, Augmented and Edited” by Dr. Pierre Schmidt and Dr. Diwan Harish Chand. Several errors are inherently present in this version of the repertory. 1) The book that Dr. D.H. Chand used to publish his edited version was a copy of another person, Mr. Shindoo. Apparently Dr. Mittal often visited this person for a few days at a time, when Mr. Shindoo would copy whatever information he could from the MKR into his copy. It is not clear whether Mr. Shindoo really carefully copied all of the MKR. Dr. D. H. Chand had purchased this copy. A repertory shows errors from the MKR. It is highly probable that many inaccuracies crept up in such transcribing, done under such conditions. 2) In addition, MKR contained not only the corrections from the Treasure but also Dr. Mittal had added remedies from Kent’s own copy of Hering’s 10 volumes of Guiding Symptoms (also in Dr. Pierre Schmidt’s office). These remedies he had, however, marked separately with the initials KHG (Kent’s Hering Guiding Symptoms). These Mr. Shindoo copied without noting their origin. Therefore, remedies not in the Treasure have in this way been added into this new repertory. It is of course possible that Dr. Kent would have agreed they belonged there since he had written them himself in his own copy of Hering Guiding Symptoms. Slides of examples of this were shown in my presentation of this paper at the 1987 Liga meeting, together with a slide of a letter from Dr. Mittal. The “purchase of the mutilated copy of the treasure” as mentioned in the preface (pg. xiv) by Dr. D. H. Chand is only partial and has not been compared with the Shindoo copy in the manner that the author has compared the MKR copy with the bits and almost complete pages of the Treasure. In late 1984 Mrs. D. H. Chand visited her daughter in Norwalk, CT. and joined me and my family for a pleasant evening. I discussed with Mrs. D. H. Chand about my findings. In view of the difficulty of communicating with Dr. Mittal in India some discussion was entertained about bringing the information (that I had strived to uncover) before the Homeopathic profession. In 1985, before the Washington meeting of the National Center of Homeopathy, Dr. D. H. Chand was in my home and he took back with him a xerox copy of the MKR with the promise that he and I would work together to bring out a true version of the repertory to completion. However I never again heard from Dr. D. H. Chand regarding this matter. The original MKR copy is kept secure, to this day. With the aid of modern computers, Frederik Schroyens, and the wonderful people at Archibel, the publishing of these additions/corrections have now been accomplished with perfect accuracy. Essential Synthesis has now been published, just as Dr. Kent had wished. These are the words that Dr. Gladwin wrote about Dr. Kent: “This accomplished master in the science and art of homeopathic medicine has bequeathed to us his imperishable works, thanks to his tireless labor and exceptional qualities. But in addition, he showed the example of infinite patience, constant kindness, and led our halting steps in the world of homeopathic truths, sparing neither time nor effort to explain every step of the way we had to travel, constantly correcting us and putting us back on the right road when through ignorance, clumsiness or negligence, we strayed from the path of truth.” In grave and difficult cases presented to Kent he always gave competent help. The help Kent gave was so kind and affable, so rich in practical teaching, that they considered him a spiritual father or elder brother. Everybody loved and respected him. “Things will grow brighter as minds are brought together and men think harmoniously. The more we keep together the better, and the more we think as one the better. It is a pity that differences should arise among us when we have so perfect a truth to bind us together.” So said Dr. Kent in the first paragraph of his last lecture (Lecture XXXVII) of his inspiring “Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy.” Dear fellow homeopaths, let us rejoice at the loving kindness of our Heavenly Father and the soul of James Tyler Kent for giving us ways to heal ourselves, and the nations, with the guidance of Hahnemann’s spirit; in particular with Frederik Schroyens and the team at Archibel, who deserve our heartfelt thanks. Author: Ahmed N. Currim, MD, PhD Printed in the Textbook of Repertory Language for the Essential Synthesis by Dr. Frederik Schroyens and Peter Vint. Homeopathic Book Publishers. London, 2007.