Dr. Samuel Hahnemann Statue and Memorial
German Roots in Washington
The Dr. Samuel Hahnemann statue and memorial was designed by Charles Henry Niehaus (1855-1935) and erected in 1900 as a gift from the American Institute of Homeopathy. Hahnemann, the father of homeopathic medicine, was born in Meissen, near Dresden, in 1755, and worked in Köthen and Leipzig. He spent the last eight years of his life in France, dying in Paris in 1843. He is buried in that city's Père Lachaise Cemetery in a location of special honor. The words "Die milde Macht ist gross" (gentle power is great) are carved on the physician's Washington memorial.The monument's dedication on June 21, 1900 was a major event in Washington. On the west side of Scott Circle, in a position analogue to the Hahnemann Memorial, is a memorial statue of Daniel Webster. This gives some idea of how important a figure Hahnemann was to Americans and Washingtonians in 1900. The widespread interest in alternative and holistic medicine in modern times can be traced directly back to Hahnemann and homeopathy.
The Dr. Samuel Hahnemann Statue and Memorial occupies a prominent location at Scott Circle.
Four large bronze bas-relief panels on the walls surrounding the statue depict Hahnemann as a student surrounded by books, a chemist in the laboratory, a teacher in the lecture room, and a physician at the bedside. Hahnemann is seated on a pedestal centered in front of a curving wall. The pedestal bears the well-known principle of homeopathy, expressed in the Latin phrase 'similia similibus curantur' (like cures the like). The words 'Die milde Macht ist gross' (gentle power is great) are carved on the base of the memorial. (2000)
Charles Henry Niehaus was responsible for numerous statues, civil war memorials, and other sculptural pieces in Washington and around the United States. Locally, his work can be seen in the United States Capitol Building, the Library of Congress, the White House, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.