The Amazing Journey of the Organon 5th and 6th Editions
Samuel Hahnemann’s most important work was his Organon der Heilkunst (Organon of the Medical Art), which established homeopathy. Hahnemann revised the work several times. The 5th edition, published in 1833, was the last edition published in Hahnemann’s lifetime.
The UCSF Archives and Special Collections holds Hahnemann’s own copy of the 5th edition, in which he wrote notes and made revisions for the 6th edition. Hahnemann’s notes are written in the margins and on facing pages, with longer notes on paper interleaved throughout the volume.
Hahnemann completed his work for the 6th edition in 1842, a year before his death. After Hahnemann’s death in 1843, his widow had a hand-written copy made of Hahnemann’s volume and notes. In 1920, James Ward and William Boericke, American homeopaths based in San Francisco, purchased both the interleaved volume and the manuscript copy. Richard Haehl, a German homeopath, acted as their agent. Haehl used the hand-written copy as the basis for the 6th edition, published in Germany in 1921. The interleaved volume was sent to Boericke in San Francisco, and he used it as the basis of the 1922 English-language edition.