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Barber, Jesse Max (05 July 1878–23 September 1949), African-American journalist, dentist, and civil rights activist, was born in Blackstock, South Carolina, the son of Jesse Max Barber and Susan Crawford, former slaves. Barber studied in public schools for African-American students and at Friendship Institute in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where he graduated as valedictorian. In 1901 he completed the normal school course for teachers at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, and afterward entered Virginia Union University in Richmond. There Barber was president of the literary society and edited the ...

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Bayne, Thomas (1824–1889), dentist and politician, was born into slavery in North Carolina and was known as Samuel Nixon before his escape from bondage in 1855. He was sold several times before being purchased by C. F. Martin, a dentist in Norfolk, Virginia. As the slave of Martin, Bayne learned sufficient dentistry to serve as the doctor’s assistant and to make dental house calls. Bayne also developed bookkeeping skills and monitored the doctor’s accounts....

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Evans, Thomas Wiltberger (23 December 1823–14 November 1897), dentist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of William Milnor Evans, a retired army officer, and Catherine Anne Wiltberger. After a common school education, Evans was apprenticed at age fourteen to Joseph Warner, a gold- and silversmith whose business included the manufacture of instruments and artificial appliances for dentists. Influenced by this experience he sought and received an apprenticeship in 1841 with Dr. John DeHaven White, a prominent Philadelphia dentist. In addition he attended the Jefferson Medical College during the 1844–1845 session and secured an M.D. degree....

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Flagg, Josiah Foster (11 January 1789–20 December 1853), dentist and artist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Josiah Flagg, Jr., the first dentist born in the United States; his mother’s maiden name was probably Foster. He is often confused with John Foster Brewster Flagg, his brother, and Joseph Foster Flagg, his nephew, both of whom also became prominent dentists. As a boy he displayed little interest in book learning and instead preferred farm chores and working with wood. At age sixteen he became an apprentice cabinetmaker and shortly thereafter developed an intense desire to obtain a scholastic education. After completing the course of study at an academy in Plainfield, Connecticut, in 1811 he began studying medicine with J. C. Warren, a Boston physician. During the next two years he designed the bone-forceps for cutting bone and removing the resultant fragments. He also carved the woodcut engravings of the pictures and diagrams that illustrate Warren’s ...

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Freeman, Robert Tanner (1846–10 June 1873), dentist, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Waller Freeman. His mother’s name is not known. His father, a carpenter in Raleigh, North Carolina, purchased his freedom from slavery in 1830. After purchasing his wife’s freedom, he moved with her to Washington, D.C., where Robert T. Freeman was born, raised, and educated....

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Garretson, James Edmund (18 October 1828–26 October 1895), dentist and oral surgeon, wan born in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of Jacob M. Garretson and Mary A. Powell. After receiving his early education at the Wilmington Classical Academy, Garretson became a student to Dr. Thatcher, a practicing dentist in Wilmington in 1850. Subsequently he practiced dentistry for a short time in Woodbury, New Jersey, after which he attended the Philadelphia College of Dental Surgery, where he obtained his dental degree in 1856. Garretson opened a practice as a dentist in Philadelphia while at the same time attending medical courses at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School; he obtained his M.D. in 1859. That same year he married Beulah Craft; the couple had two daughters....

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Greenwood, John (17 May 1760–16 November 1819), George WashingtonGeorge Washington's dentist, ’s dentist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Isaac Greenwood, an ivory turner, mathematical instrument maker, and the first practical dentist in Boston, and Mary I’ans. Greenwood received the rudiments of an education at the North School in Boston. At age thirteen he was apprenticed for two years to his uncle, Thales Greenwood, a cabinetmaker in Portland, Maine....

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Harris, Chapin Aaron (06 May 1806–29 September 1860), a founder of American dentistry, was born at Pompey, Onondaga County, New York, the son of John Harris and Elizabeth Brundage. At eighteen years of age he began the study of medicine, surgery, and dentistry with his brother John at Madison, Lake County, Ohio. In 1826 he married Lucinda Hawley, with whom he would have nine children. Harris progressed rapidly in his apprenticeship and by 1827 was made a partner. However, during that year he moved to Canfield, Ohio, where he started the practice of medicine. The following year he changed his practice from medicine to dentistry. As was the custom of many practitioners of dentistry, for many years he was an itinerant, traveling and treating patients throughout the South. He practiced for a time in Greenfield, Ohio, but moved to Bloomfield in 1828 and settled in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he practiced dentistry full time until 1835. Having received a license to practice dentistry from the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland in 1833 no doubt influenced him to move to Baltimore permanently....

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Howe, Percy Rogers (30 September 1864–28 February 1950), dental educator and scientist, was born in North Providence, Rhode Island, the son of James Albert Howe and Elizabeth Rachel Rogers. His father was a Baptist minister who became dean of the Cobb Divinity School at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, where Percy spent his childhood and attended the Nichols Latin School and Bates College, from which he graduated with a B.A. in 1887. Not wishing to enter the ministry, he accepted an offer to apprentice with a family dentist; afterward, having decided on a dental career, he entered the Philadelphia Dental College, earning a D.D.S. in 1890. Having established a successful practice in Lewiston, he moved in 1903 to Boston, where once again his practice flourished. He had married Rose Alma Hilton in 1891; they had two sons....

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Keep, Nathan Cooley (23 December 1800–11 March 1875), dental scientist and educator, was born in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Keep and Anne Bliss, farmers. His early education at the local village school was relatively meager. His family was intensely religious, and several family members were active in the Congregational church. He shared his father’s interest in and skill with the use of tools and appeared destined for a career as an artisan. When Keep was sixteen his father apprenticed him to John Taylor, a jeweler in Newark, New Jersey, even though young Nathan’s first choice was to become a schoolteacher. As a dutiful son, he followed his father’s wishes and stayed with his indentureship. However, a general business slump in 1821 forced Taylor to lay him off after only five years....

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Kingsley, Norman William (26 October 1829–20 February 1913), dental surgeon and sculptor, was born in Stockholm, New York, the son of Nathaniel Kingsley and Eliza Williams, farmers. At age four he moved with his family to Poultney, Vermont, and about five years later to Bradford County, Pennsylvania, where he helped with the farm during growing season and attended an academy in Troy, New York, during the winter. At age fifteen he moved to Elmira, New York, and worked as a clerk and bookkeeper in several business establishments. He also began developing his considerable ability as an artist by dabbling in the engraving of copper and wood, and in the process earned a considerable local reputation. In 1847 he returned to Troy, where he clerked in a general store for a year before moving to Elizabeth, New Jersey, to study dentistry with his uncle A. W. Kingsley. Although the elder Kingsley refused to teach him how to make false teeth from porcelain, a secret that the dental profession guarded jealously, he soon learned to do so on his own by carefully observing his uncle and then conducting experiments in the laboratory and kiln while his mentor was on holiday....

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McQuillen, John Hugh (12 February 1826–03 March 1879), dentist, editor, and educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Hugh McQuillen and Martha Scattergood, occupations unknown. He attended the Friends’ School and worked as a youth as a clerk in an importing firm. In 1847 he began the study of medicine and became particularly interested in dentistry. He studied with Elisha Townsend, a noted Philadelphia dentist, and in 1849 went into dental practice. He continued his medical studies and in 1852 received the M.D. from Jefferson Medical College. That same year he married Amelia Donnel Schellenger. They had five children, one of whom died in infancy. From 1852 to 1861 he was associated with Daniel Neall, another well-known Philadelphia dentist, and then returned to private practice....

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Miller, Willoughby Dayton (01 August 1853–27 July 1907), dental scientist, was born in Alexandria, Licking County, Ohio, the son of John Hinkle Miller and Nancy L. Somerville, farmers. He attended the University of Michigan, majoring in science, and received his A.B. degree in 1875. He went to Edinburgh, Scotland (1875–1876) for further study in chemistry and applied mathematics, with the goal of becoming a mining engineer. A lack of funds caused him to interrupt his studies, and he subsisted by teaching adults in night school. In 1876 he went to Berlin for advanced study in physics. There he met Frank P. Abbott, a dentist, who was the unofficial leader of the American colony. Abbott was greatly impressed with young Miller and urged him to study dentistry, because he felt the profession needed men with scientific training, especially in physics and chemistry....

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Morton, William Thomas Green (09 August 1819–15 July 1868), dentist and introducer of ether anesthesia, was born at Charlton, Massachusetts, the son of James Morton and Rebecca Needham, farmers. In 1840, after early experiences as a clerk and salesman in Boston, Morton studied dentistry at the College of Dental Surgery in Baltimore. In 1842 he set up in practice in Farmington, Connecticut. In the winter of 1842–1843 he practiced jointly with ...

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Parmly, Eleazar (13 March 1797–13 December 1874), dentist, was born on a farm near Braintree, Vermont, the son of Eleazar Parmly (né Parmelee) and Hannah Spear, farmers. Parmly’s early education took place in rural schools, but at the age of twelve he left the farm to spend two years at an urban school in Montreal, Canada. Following school he worked as compositor and reporter for the ...

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Southwick, Alfred Porter (18 May 1826–11 June 1898), mechanic, dentist, and proponent of the electric chair as a means of administering the death penalty, was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, the son of Abijah Southwick and Roxanna McDonald. After completing high school, Southwick, who was mechanically inclined, found work in Buffalo, New York, servicing ship engines for the Great Lakes Steamboat Company, which transferred cargo between inland ports and the Erie Canal. He married Mary Flynn, an Irish immigrant, on 26 May 1853. The couple adopted an infant daughter, their only child....

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Wells, Horace (21 January 1815–23 January 1848), dentist and pioneer in the use of dental anesthesia, was born in Hartford, Vermont, the son of Horace Wells and Betsey Heath, farmers. Growing up in Westminster and then Bellows Falls, Vermont, where his father operated a gristmill, Wells began attending school in 1821. He attended a boys’ private school in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, and subsequently attended academies in Amherst, Massachusetts, and Walpole, New Hampshire. When Wells was fourteen, his father died, and the following year his mother married Abiather Shaw. Wells moved with his mother to Shaw’s home in Westmoreland, New Hampshire. The Shaws used part of their large home as a hotel for freight teams....