In honor of Mother's Day this month of May we would like to celebrate some important women in the history of dentistry.
Like Amalia Assur, who in 1852 became the first female dentist in Sweden; she was given special permission from the Royal Board of Health (Kongl. Sundhetskollegiets) to practice independently as a dentist, despite the fact that the profession was not legally opened to women in Sweden until 1861. The infamous Emeline Robert Jones, who in 1855 became the first woman to practice dentistry in the United States. She married the dentist Daniel Jones when she was a teenager, and became his assistant in 1855. These women and so many more helped pave the way for women's role in the field of dentistry so that in recent times, Kathleen T. O'Loughlin, of Medford, Mass., became the first female executive director of the American Dental Association in 2009.
Women have always played an important role in history and dentistry is no exception. The office of Drs. Johnson and Risbrudt are appreciative and humbled by the impact these dentists, women, and mothers have had on the field of dentistry.
Pre 20th century
- 1523: The earliest known dental engraving, made by Lucas van Leyden in copper, depicts an itinerant dentist and his female assistant.
- 1866: Rosalie Fougelberg became Sweden's first female dentist after the profession was opened to both genders. In
- 1861, the dentist profession was legally opened to women in Sweden. Fougelberg tried twice to get her dentist's certificate; the second time, she was approved by the medical examiners but not by the dentistry representative. During her third try in 1866, the examination was supervised by the press. She was still turned down by the Collegium Medicum, but given a royal dispensation by the monarch, Charles XV of Sweden.
- 1866: Lucy Hobbs Taylor became the first woman to graduate from a dental college (Ohio Dental College).
- 1869: Henriette Hirschfeld-Tiburtius, born in Germany, became the first woman to take a full college course in dentistry, as Lucy Hobbs Taylor received credit for her time in dental practice before attending dental college. She graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery in 1869. She later returned to Germany and became the first female dentist in Germany.
- 1874: Fanny A. Rambarger became the second American woman to earn the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1874, when she graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery. She worked in Philadelphia and limited her practice to women and children only.
- 1886: Margarita Chorné y Salazar became the first female dentist in Mexico.
- 1890: Ida Gray Rollins became the first African-American woman to earn a dental degree in the United States, which she earned from the University of Michigan.
- 1892: The [American] Women's Dental Association was founded in 1892 by Mary Stillwell-Kuesel with 12 charter members. Annie T. Focht, secretary, listed 32 members in her report on March 4, 1893, and stated: "the women interested in dentistry [met] in Philadelphia in March 1892, to organize a society by which they could strengthen themselves by trying to help one another." At monthly meetings of the association essayists presented scholarly dental papers. Their mailing list grew to include about 100 female dentists. No reports of the association exist after 1898.
- 1895: Lilian Lindsay became the first licensed female dentist in Britain. She was also a leading dental historian, and the Lindsay Society for the History of Dentistry, established in 1962 (after her death) was named for her.
- 1898: Emma Gaudreau Casgrain earned her license to practice dentistry and thus became the first female dentist in Canada.
- 1907: Frances Dorothy Gray became Australia's first female Bachelor of Dental Science upon graduating from the Australian College of Dentistry, University of Melbourne, in 1907.
- 1916: Gillette Hayden became the first female president of the American Academy of Periodontology.
- 1920: Maude Tanner became the first recorded female delegate to the American Dental Association.
- 1921: During the annual meeting of the American Dental Association (ADA), 12 female dentists met in Milwaukee and formed the Federation of American Women Dentists, now known as the American Association of Women Dentists (AAWD). AAWD's first president, M. Evangeline Jordan, was one of the first to limit her practice to children and was a founder of pedodontics. She graduated from the University of California School of Dentistry in 1898.
- 1923: Anita Martin became the first woman inducted into the American dental honor society Omicron Kappa Upsilon.
- 1933: Grace Rogers Spalding was appointed the first formal editor of the [American] Journal of Periodontology, a position she held until July 1949.
- 1946: Lilian Lindsay became the first female president of the British Dental Association.
- 1951: Helen E. Myers of Lancaster, Pa., a 1941 graduate of Temple University, was commissioned as the U.S. Army Dental Corpsâ€™ first female dental officer in 1951.
- 1975: On July 1, 1975, Jeanne C. Sinkford became the first female dean of an American dental school when she was appointed the dean of Howard University, School of Dentistry.
- 1977: The American Association of Dental Schools (founded in 1923 and renamed the American Dental Education Association in 2000) had Nancy Goorey as its first female president in 1977.
- 1988: In 1988, the American Student Dental Association elected its first female president, N. Gail McLaurin of the Medical University of South Carolina.
- 1991: Geraldine Morrow became the first female president of the American Dental Association.
- 1997: Hazel J. Harper became the first female president of the [American] National Dental Association.
- 2001: Marjorie Jeffcoat became the first female editor of The Journal of the American Dental Association.
- 2003: Rear Admiral Carol I. Turner became the first female Chief of the U.S. Navy Dental Corps.
- 2004: Sandra Madison, of Asheville, N.C., was elected as the first female president of the American Association of Endodontists.
- 2005: Michele Aerden became the first female president of the FDI World Dental Federation.
- 2007: Laura Kelly became the first female president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
- 2008: Beverly Largent, a pediatric dentist from Paducah, Ky., became the first female president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
- 2008: Valerie Murrah became the first female president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.
- 2008: Paula Jones became the first female president of the Academy of General Dentistry.
- 2008: Deborah Stymiest of Fredericton was elected as the first female president of the Canadian Dental Association.
- 2008: Susan Bordenave-Bishop became the first female president of the Academy of Dentistry International.