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George Royal Papers

Identifier: RG99.0257

Scope and Contents

The papers of George Royal consist of 24 undated composition books filled with notes by Dr. Royal, professor and dean of the State University of Iowa Homeopathic Medical Department from 1892 to 1921. The first book covers general education courses and appears physically to be from an earlier period than the others, perhaps from his high school studies or while at Amherst College during the early 1870s. Notebooks two and six cite materials published during the early 1890s, which were likely current, and this connects the notes with Royal's early years at SUI.Each of the composition books describes the medical uses of several plants, which are identified by their scientific names in the box list below. These notes are a product of Royal's research on the efficacy of homeopathic remedies, for which he was internationally known.Some of the notebooks were singed, presumably in the 1929 fire which destroyed the Homeopathic Hospital.


  • 1870-1900


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

George Royal was born in Alford, Massachusetts on July 15, 1853. He attended high school in Willimantic, Connecticut, followed by Amherst College from 1874 through 1875. Dr. Royal received an honorary M.S. from Amherst College in 1929. During the 1870s, Royal taught at a private school in Coventry, Connecticut, and served as principal at East Hampton High School in Connecticut. He received his Medical Doctor degree from the New York Homeopathic Medical College in 1882 and moved to Des Moines, Iowa. He served as president of the Des Moines school board from 1888 to 1892.

In 1892 Dr. Royal was appointed professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics within the Homeopathic Medical Department at the State University of Iowa. In 1899 he was named dean of the Department of Homeopathic Medicine, succeeding Dr. James G. Gilchrist. Dr. Royal was active in societies, having served as treasurer of the Iowa Homeopathic Medical Society in 1901 and as president of the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1905. He was editor of the Iowa Homeopathic Journal for a number of years. In 1919 he was appointed head of the SUI Department of Homeopathic Materia Medica and Therapeutics, and served until his resignation in the spring of 1921. Royal's research focused on the efficacy of homeopathic remedies. He authored four books on the subject between 1920 and 1930 with two of these titles having later editions. Text-Book of Homeopathic Materia Medica was published in 1920 and 1962 and Homeopathic Therapy of Diseases of Brain and Nerves was published in 1928 and 1992.

George Royal married Ella J. Kingsbury and the couple had one son, Dr. Malcolm A. Royal of Des Moines, Iowa. George Royal died in Des Moines on December 27, 1931.

According to historian Stow Persons, Dean Royal informed President Walter A. Jessup on January 9, 1918, that he would close the Homeopathic College in June 1919, due to a decline in enrollment. Persons posits the decline was in part due to the stricter admission requirements which were adopted following the influential discussions of William R. Boyd, chair of the Board of Education's finance committee, with Abraham Flexner just prior to publication of Flexner's report, Medical Education in the United States and Canada, in 1910. After the college closed in 1919, the Department of Homeopathic Materia Medica and Therapeutics was established within the College of Medicine, with courses in homeopathy listed in the University catalog until 1961.


1.00 linear feet


Professor, head, and dean of Homeopathic Medical Department, 1892 to 1921.  Internationally known for his research on the efficacy of homeopathic remedies.

Method of Acquisition

These materials were transferred to the University Archives prior to 1970. Finding aid created January 2010.

Related Materials

Folder, "Royal, George," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003)

Records of the College of Homeopathic Medicine (RG13.0001.001)

Folders, "Homeopathic Hospital," and "Homeopathic Medical Building," Buildings and Grounds Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.002)

Manuscript File Collection on Early University History (RG001.0001.001)

Persons, Stow. "The Decline of Homeopathy -- the University of Iowa, 1876-1919." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 65 (spring 1991): 74- 87, notes. Hardin; Historical Papers Collection in Archives (RG01.0001.003)

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics timeline of the Homeopathic Department, which is available here.

Records of the Homeopathic Medicine Department

Manuscriupt File Collection

Denise Anderson, January 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242