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Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery theses


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery (sometimes referred to as the Pennsylvania Dental College) was founded in 1856 with Henry C. Carey as President (1793-1879) and much of its faculty consisting of former members of the closed Philadelphia College of Dental Surgery. The College initially operated at 528 Arch Street, Philadelphia, then moved to Tenth and Arch Streets. Lasting until a merger with the University of Pennsylvania in 1909 that formed what is now the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, many prominent figures in nineteenth-century dentistry graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery, including James Edmund Garretson, John Nutting Ferrar, and Henriette Hirschfeld-Tiburtius. The College suffered two setbacks in the nineteenth century, however: the first was in 1863 when a number of its faculty left to found the Philadelphia Dental College. The second was in 1877 when the University of Pennsylvania approached the school regarding a possible merger. While the official reply was negative, Dean Charles J. Essig and Doctors Edwin T. Darby, George T. Barker, and James Tyson were invited to join Penn's faculty and together formed the Department of Dentistry which opened in 1878. By 1909 the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery did not have the funds to modernize and expand. As a result, the merger with Penn was approved and the Penn School of Dental Medicine was formed.

This collection consists of bound manuscript theses from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery, with each volume containing the theses submitted over the course of a single academic year; although from 1879 to 1885, multiple volumes were required for a single academic year. It is arranged chronologically. Various subjects related to the practice and history of dentistry are treated, but a significant number of these theses focus especially on the cause and treatment for cavities or "caries" as they were more commonly called in the nineteenth century. Additionally, an appreciable number concern the crafting and fitting of false teeth.

Transferred from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, 2015.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Cory Austin Knudson
Finding Aid Date
2020 February 24
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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1855-1856 session, 1855-1856.
Box 1 Folder 1
1856-1857 session, 1856-1857.
Box 1 Folder 2
1857-1858 session, 1857-1858.
Box 1 Folder 3
1858-1859 session, 1858-1859.
Box 1 Folder 4
1859-1860 session, 1859-1860.
Box 1 Folder 5
1860-1861 session, 1860-1861.
Box 1 Folder 6
1861-1862 session, 1861-1862.
Box 2 Folder 1
1862-1863 session, 1862-1863.
Box 2 Folder 2
1863-1864 session, 1863-1864.
Box 2 Folder 3
1864-1865 session, 1864-1865.
Box 2 Folder 4
Volume 1, 1879.
Box 2 Folder 4
Volume 2, 1879.
Box 3 Folder 1
Box 3 Folder 2
Rhein, Meyer L. " Dentistry as a speciality of the art and science of medicine" (Competition), 1881 February 1.
Box 3 Folder 3
Downer, Milton J. "Consideration of Dental Bases" (Competition), 1881 January 16.
Box 3 Folder 4
Volume 1, 1881.
Box 3 Folder 5
Volume 2, 1881.
Box 3 Folder 6
Volume 3, 1881.
Box 3 Folder 7
Volume 1, 1882.
Box 4 Folder 1
Volume 2, 1882.
Box 4 Folder 2
Volume 3, 1882.
Box 4 Folder 3
Volume 1, 1883.
Box 4 Folder 4
Volume 2, 1883.
Box 4 Folder 5
Volume 1, 1884.
Box 5 Folder 1
Volume 2, 1884.
Box 5 Folder 2
Volume 1, 1885.
Box 5 Folder 3
Volume 2, 1885.
Box 5 Folder 4
Volume 3, 1885.
Box 5 Folder 5

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