At Neesh Dental in Saskatoon, a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime is our ultimate goal when treating patients. Your personal home care plays an important role in achieving that goal. Our team of Saskatoon dentists and support staff try to always share interesting articles, dental facts and dental hygiene tips. In our latest post we wanted to introduce you to Lucy Beaman Hobbs Taylor, the first ever woman dentist!
Lucy Beaman Hobbs Taylor (b.1833- d.1910)
DDS 1866 Ohio College of Dental Surgery
First Woman Doctor of Dental Surgery
In 1866, Lucy Hobbs was the first woman to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Her success encouraged other women to enter dental colleges, but her own path to that degree was long and hard. She was determined “to enter a profession where she could earn her bread not alone by the sweat of her brow, but by the use of her brains also.”
From Medicine to Dentistry
While teaching in Brooklyn, Michigan, Hobbs boarded with a physician who sparked her interest in medicine. With his encouragement, Hobbs moved to Cincinnati to enroll in the Eclectic Medical College. The college refused her entrance and suggested she try dentistry instead.
Detractors were everywhere
George R. Thomas President, Michigan Dental Association
(1872-1873 and 1876-1878)
“Complete Failure of Health:” George R. Thomas, a graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery, was an early skeptic of women dentists. He did not believe women were physically capable of performing lengthy oral surgeries. Thomas wrote, “it is an impracticable idea for women to enter the practice of dentistry. The constrained position the operator is obliged to assume, and continue in for hours together, would, doubtless, under certain circumstances, prove very disastrous and perhaps fatal to a female operator.”
Supporters Were So Few, But So Vital.Jonathan Taft (1820-1903)
Dean, Ohio College of Dental Surgery (1858-1875)
Founding Dean, University of Michigan College of Dental Surgery (1875-1903)
Women Are Suited for Dentistry: Jonathan Taft was an early and consistent supporter of women dentists. He admitted Lucy Hobbs to the Ohio College of Dental Surgery where she became the first woman graduate of any dental program in 1866. Beginning in 1880, women were in nearly every dental class at the University of Michigan. In 1890, Dean Taft admitted Ida Gray—the first African American woman to receive a degree in dentistry—to the University of Michigan.
Jonathan Taft, Dean of the Ohio College of Dental Surgery welcomed Hobbs in his office until another dentist agreed to teach her. After the Ohio faculty refused to admit her in 1861, Hobbs opened her own office, a common practice at the time as very few dentists had degrees. She then started a practice in Iowa, becoming profitable within three years and earning an excellent reputation.
At its 1865 meeting, the Iowa State Dental Society admitted Hobbs to its membership stating, “The profession has nothing in its pursuits foreign to the instincts of women.” Even further, the Society influenced the Ohio College of Dental Surgery to admit Hobbs as a student. In recognition of her years of practice, the College only required her to attend one session, and she graduated in 1866.
Her Turn to Mentor
Hobbs opened a practice in Chicago where she married Civil War veteran and railroad car painter James M. Taylor. Hobbs taught her husband dentistry and together they established a successful practice in Lawrence, Kansas. After his death in 1886, she campaigned for women’s rights and practiced intermittently until her own death in 1910.
Lucy H.T. Lab Coat
Such is the stature of Lucy Hobbs Taylor that Medelita, a manufacturer of scrubs and lab coats, designed and named this modern lab coat in honor of Taylor as a “tribute to this amazing, prestigious, and accomplished woman.”Do you know