The Samuel Hahnemann Memorial is a bronze and granite monument in the form of an elliptical exedra, featuring a portrait statue of Hahnemann at the center of the niche. Christian Friederich Samuel Hahnemann, a German-born physician who became disillusioned by common medical practices of the time. Many medical practitioners followed a “law of opposites” when treating patients. However, Hahnemann found these treatments ineffective and counterintuitive; in response, he began to experiment with a “law of similars” that reversed this idea. Hahnemann often experimented on himself, and while homeopathy had controversial practices, his experiments changed 19th century medicine practices.
The Hahnemann Memorial features numerous elements and symbols pertaining to his life: on the pedestal below the sculpture of Hahnemann, the phrase “Similia Similibus Curentur” (“Like is Cured by Like”) references the basis of homeopathy; the bas-reliefs to the left and right of the statue illustrate the doctor as he practiced; other phrases and symbols represent his impact on the field. Designed by Henry Neihaus, the memorial’s neoclassical composition reflects Hahnemann’s contributions to homeopathic medicine during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Dedicated in 1900, the monument arose from the desire of members of the American Institute of Homeopathy to honor Hahnemann, but it also received funding from individuals across the country. The memorial is notable as the first statue in the city depicting a foreigner not associated with American independence, as well as one of the first statue not honoring a political or military figure.
DC Inventory: February 22, 2007
National Register: October 11, 2007
Within Sixteenth Street Historic District