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the first licensed female dentist in the United States
Lucy Beaman Hobbs was born in Constable, New York, on March 14, 1833. Orphaned at 12, she worked as seamstress to support herself through school, and graduated from Franklin Academy in Malone, NY in 1849. She then moved to Michigan, where she taught school for ten years.
Wanting to become a dentist, Lucy moved to Cincinnati in 1859 intending to enroll in the dental school of the Eclectic College of Medicine. She was denied admission, however, because she was a woman. Fortunately for her, the dean of the school saw potential in Lucy and arranged for her to study under one of the professors. Denied admission to dental school again in 1861, she decided to open her own practice in Cincinnati in 1861 (most male dentists of the day also lacked college degrees). Unable to make a living in Cincinnati, she moved to Bellevue, Ohio, in 1862, and to McGregory, Iowa, later that same year. In 1865, the Iowa State Dental Society intervened on her behalf and got her admitted to the Ohio College of Dental Surgery, and on February 21, 1866, she became the first woman in the U.S. (and probably the world) to receive a doctorate in dentistry.
After receiving her dental license, she moved to Chicago, where she met James M. Taylor, who began studying dentistry under her. The two were married in April 1867, and they established a very successful practice in Lawrence, Kansas, later that same year. The couple practiced together until his death in 1886, after which she retired from dentistry and became active in the women's rights movement. She died in Lawrence on October 3, 1910, and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.
This page was last updated on 02/05/2017.