Women's History
America's First Women Dentists

America's First Women Dentists

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     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.75

     challenging words:    determined, gender, generally, doctorate, dentistry, founded, thus, member, service, assist, equal, however, title, senior, benefit, history
     content words:    Lucy Hobbs Taylor, New York, Ohio College, Dental Surgery, Iowa State Dental Society, Lucy Hobbs, Emeline Roberts, Daniel A., American Association, Women Dentists

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America's First Women Dentists
By Joyce Furstenau

1     Lucy Hobbs Taylor was considered to be the first woman to graduate from dental school with a degree in dentistry. She was born in New York in 1833. This was a time in history where women's roles were generally limited to being a mother, teacher, or nurse.
2     After graduating high school, Lucy taught school for ten years in Michigan. In 1859, she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where she applied to the College of Medicine. She was turned down because of her gender. She was determined, however, and took up private studies with one of the professors there. It was his suggestion that Lucy try the field of dentistry.
3     Lucy decided to apply to the school of dentistry. Once again, because of her gender, she was turned down. True to her determined ways, she once again took up private studies under the dean of Ohio College of Dental Surgery. Without benefit of a degree, in the spring of 1861 Lucy opened her own practice in Cincinnati where she was known as "the woman who pulls teeth." (Women were allowed to practice dentistry without a degree at that time as long as a regular dentist supervised them.) After four years, Lucy had finally proven herself worthy to her male colleagues. The Iowa State Dental Society accepted her as a member in 1865. Later that year, she was admitted to the senior class of the Ohio College of Dental Surgery. Lucy received credit for her years of service and received her doctorate in dentistry in February of 1866. Thus, Lucy Hobbs became the first woman in U.S. history to earn a doctorate in dentistry.

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