HISTORY OF THE MONUMENT
On 21 June 1900, the American Institute of Homeopathy celebrated the successful surmounting of the triple challenge of selecting the sculptor, acquiring the legislation, and amassing the funds for our memorial to Hahnemann with the splendid public dedication of the Hahnemann Monument at Scott Circle, NW, Washington, DC. Graced by the presence of many government dignitaries, including U.S.President William Mc Kinley, himself, as well as the "President’s Own" Marine Corps Band, the ceremony marked the presentation of this artistically stunning bronze and granite edifice to the people of the United States by the American Institute of Homeopathy.
Dr. James H. Mc Clelland of Pittsburgh having first proposed the monument at a meeting of the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania in 1881, persuaded the American Institute of Homeopathy to undertake the project in June, 1892, at their 45th Session in Washington, DC. While the AIH led the way, the entire homeopathic community supported the effort. Amounts as little as twenty-five cents were given. The single largest individual donation came from Nancy T. Williams, MD, of Augusta, ME, who contributed $4510.00.
Under the advice and auspices of the National Sculptor Society, the AIH Monument Committee mounted a contest which resulted in the unanimous selection from 30 international entrants of Charles Henry Niehaus of Cincinnati, Ohio, trained in Munich and Rome, as the winning sculptor. The architect was Julius F. Harder of New York City.
Critics have said of this prize winning monument (Gold Medal at the Pan American Exposition) the following:
- "The National Sculptor Society examined and reported favorably upon the artistic merits of the bronze statue of Hahnemann and the reliefs...I congratulate your Committee..." J.Q.A.Ward, President, National Sculptor Society, 1898.
- "...finest work...equaled by few others in the country." Charles Coffin, 1913.
- "A similar strength and adequacy of conception characterizes the statue of Samuel Hahnemann, discoverer of Homeopathy, for the memorial monument in Washington, considered the most effective seated statue ever produced." National Cyclopedia of Biography.
REDEDICATION: JUNE 2000
On 21 June 2000, the American Institute of Homeopathy hosted Homeopathy 2000: Rededication and Celebration in Washington, DC. At 3:00PM, joined by the Marine Corps Brass Quintet, an Armed Forces Color Guard, several state and regional homeopathic societies, and sister homeopathic organizations, the AIH rededicated the Hahnemann Monument before an enthusiastic crowd. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
On that joyous occasion, however, it became apparent that this beautiful and venerable monument needed repairs. Specifically, the mosaic in the arch above Hahnemann’s head was crumbling. If we waited on the US government to achieve these needed repairs it would be a long wait as this monument must compete with other more popular monuments, such as the Washington Monument, for few budgetary dollars. Therefore, Sandra M. Chase, MD, DHt, Chair of the American Institute of Homeopathy Hahnemann Monument Preservation Committee, initiated a fund raising drive on behalf of the AIH entitled the Hahnemann Monument Restoration Project. Our restoration project was conceived in June of 2000 on the occasion of the centennial of the dedication of this memorial. We initiated a fund drive and by May 2003, much to the amazement of then NPS Superintendent Arnold Goldstein, we had raised, from AIH members, the public, and international donors, over thirty thousand dollars for the purpose of restoring and maintaining this edifice.
RESTORATION: APRIL 2004-SEPTEMBER 2011
The restoration of the Hahnemann Memorial and its grounds took several years. The elapsed time was due, in part, to weather conditions preventing the process of the restoration project. A review of the reports found on the AIH website (Numbers 7 through 18) will offer the interested reader color photographs and descriptive narrative of the various stages of restoration.
On April 4, 2004, we donated $20,600 to repair the tesserae decorated arch. This was a crucial contribution from the HMRP Fund in this public/private partnership with the National Park Service because they had to hire an outside expert, Senior Conservator Judy Jacob, to carry out and oversee the restoration of the arch.
During the course of the renovation of the memorial itself, other experts, as well as NPS staff, carried out other aspects of this restorative project. The Hahnemann statue itself was evaluated and restored. The granite edifice was cleaned in such a way as to protect its surface from damage even from that process. The plaza upon which the monument rests, which had subsided in parts, was also repaired with relaying and leveling of the brick plaza and the granite steps.
The National Park Service personnel also addressed the renovation of the triangular grounds that surround the statue, including the replacement of a missing oak tree and the removal of a “social” pathway.
The final piece of the restoration project was the fountain at the rear of the monument. For reasons of social misuse and lack of a water recirculation capacity, this fountain could not be reactivated. However, the basin was just covered with a utilitarian concrete slab with a surrounding iron ring, which had caused rust staining on the fountain pedestal. The Park Service cleaned the fountain basin and pedestal. On September 16, 2011, we donated $3,835 to cover the cost of the shaped granite stone that on September 13, 2011, was placed over the basin of the inactivated fountain at the rear of the monument.
CEREMONY ACKNOWLEDGING THE COMPLETION: SEPTEMBER 2011
On Friday, September 16, 2011, representatives of the US National Park Service, members of the Board of the American Institute of Homeopathy and members of the AIH, as well as the interested public, gathered at the site of the Hahnemann Monument to participate in a ceremony hosted by the NPS and the AIH to acknowledge the completion of the Hahnemann Monument Restoration Project.
The speakers on the program included Robert Vogel, Superintendent, National Mall and Memorial Parks; Todd A. Hoover, MD, DHt, then President, American Institute of Homeopathy; and Sandra M. Chase, MD, DHt, Trustee, American Institute of Homeopathy, Chair, Hahnemann Monument Preservation Committee, Facilitator, Hahnemann Monument Restoration Project.
A full report of this historic ceremony, including photographs, can be read in Restoration Report Number 19.
[Submitted by Sandra M. Chase, MD, DHt]