Timothy Field Allen 1837 – 1902

Timothy Field Allen 1837 - 1902Timothy Field Allen (photo used courtesy of Homéopathe International) 1837 – 1902 was an orthodox doctor who converted to homeopathy to become one of the most important homeopaths of all time.

Allen was Professor of Chemistry at the New York Medical College, Professor of Anatomy at the New York Homeopathic College, a colleague of William T Helmuth (coeditor with William T Helmuth of New York Journal of Homeopathy) and a partner of Carroll Dunham.

His books are still important today and well used by modern homeopaths.

Allen received a degree from Amherst in 1858 and an MD from University of the City of New York in 1861. From 1862 to 1864 he was an Assistant Surgeon of the United States Army.

After the war Allen served as dean of the New York Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital. He was largely instrumental in the establishment of the Flower Hospital and the Laura Franklin Free Hospital for Children.

Allen also served as organist for several local churches. He also was on the Board of Directors for the New York Botanical Gardens and Vice President of the Torrey Botanical Club.

Timothy Field Allen was born in Westminster, Vermont. He received his undergraduate education at Amherst College and his medical degree from New York University.

After serving as a surgeon during the Civil War he returned to New York where he partnered with Dr. Carroll Dunham. He also studied homeopathy with Dr. P.P. Wells in Brooklyn.

In 1871 Dr. Allen was appointed Professor of Materia Medica at the New York Homoeopathic Medical College. Later he served as president from 1882-1893. He obtained a $500,000 grant from Roswell P. Flower, which was used to build an addition to the college. This later became the Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital.

While professor and surgeon at New York Ophthalmic Hospital, Dr. Allen was responsible for its conversion to a homeopathic institution. He was also Director of a Homoeopathic Insane Asylum in Middletown, New York, which served as a research center for the homeopathic treatment of mental disease.

Dr. Allen compiled the Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica over the course of 10 years. It is a comprehensive record of all the provings of homeopathic medicines recorded up to that point….

Constantine Hering, Carroll Dunham, Adolph Lippe, and Richard Hughes all contributed to this monumental work… The volumes were offered by subscription. 500 subscriptions were obtained and paid in advance to assure each volume’s publication.

For each remedy in the Encyclopedia the actual symptoms are preceded by a list of each prover, the dose they took, and the source of reference. Other sources of information, such as accidental poisonings, are also included.

In 1881 Allen published A Critical Revision of the Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica. It was a reprint of 16 pages from the North American Journal of Homeopathy. This small work is an errata for his larger work. It covers revisions to remedies from Agaricus to Carbo vegetalis. Dr. Allen published nothing similar for the rest of the remedies in the Encyclopedia….

In addition to his devotion to homeopathy, Dr. Allen was an accomplished musician and botanist. He served as organist for several local churches. He also was on the Board of Directors for the New York Botanical Gardens.

Dr. Allen dedicated 40 years of his life to the art and science of homeopathy. His legacy is preserved by our continuing reliance on his work.

As Allen was Assistant Surgeon of the United States Army, he wasn entitled to use the Surgeon General’s Library, where:

It is not known when medical officers were first given the privilege of borrowing books and journals from the Surgeon General’s office, but within a few years ofthe Civil War’s end the practice waswell established…. A Miss Morrill carried out research for Timothy F. Allen of New York City, editor of Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica…

Allen was a specialist in the Characaea family and he donated his collection of Characeae to the New York Botanical Garden. He wrote The Characaea of America, Contributions to Japanese Characeae, Development of the Cortex in Chara, Characeæ Americanæ, Three New Charas from California, The Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica, Ophthalmic Diseases and Therapeutics with Arthur Brigham Norton, Ophthalmic Therapeutics with George Salmon Norton, Handbook of Materia Medica and Homoeopathic Therapeutics, A Primer of Materia Medica for Practitioners of Homoeopathy, The Effects of Lead Upon Healthy Individuals, A Critical Examination of Our Materia Medica, A General Symptom Register of the Homœopathic Materia Medica, The Monthly Homoeopathic Review, Characteristic Symptoms of the Materia Medica, Medical Era, The American Homoeopathist, New England Medical Gazette, The California Homoeopath, Medical Summary, The Homœopathic World.

Allen’s papers are collected at The New York Botanical Garden:

A physician by training, Timothy Field Allen was an enthusiastic botanist and served as the vice-president of the Torrey Botanical Club from 1873 until his death in 1902.

His interest in algae led him to specialize in the family Characeae. Allen wrote many scientific papers on these plants and corresponded and exchanged specimens with students all over the world .

In 1901 he presented to the Garden his specimens and his extensive collection of information on the CharaceaeCharaceae. He is commemorated by the grass Danthonia Alleni Austin, Eriogonuum Alleni S. Watson, and by sundropsSundrops of eastern Long Island, Kneiffia Alleni. (Evening Primrose)

The Homeopathic practice of medicine has had no more learned and able exponent
than Timothy Field Allen Obituary Record – Page 13 by Amherst College, Bowdoin college 1874



One thought on “Timothy Field Allen 1837 – 1902”

  1. In 1990 my Aunt Alice Farnham Duchac in Antigo, Wisconsin showed me a picture of 2 Doctors from I think the 1880’s from the Allen side of our family and she said they were into some unusual medical practice. Alice’s mother was Hattie (Harriet) Allen and married a Farnham. Both of Hattie’s daughters, Alice and Lila got MS degrees in music and were church organists. Lila’ s son Charles Farnham Yahr was my father. Lila died in 1921 at age 31. Hattie’s brother Worden Allen was Supt.. of Milwaukee’s Public School system circa 1900-1908 and still has a school named for him here. I sure would like to know if we are connected to Timothy or Henry Clay Allen! Richard Allen Yahr 414-351-5142

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