ITâ€™S WOMENâ€™S HISTORY MONTH, which makes it a great time to celebrate a pretty awesome lady: Lucy Hobbs Taylor, DDS, the first woman to earn a dental degree in North America.
Who Was Lucy Hobbs Taylor?
Born in 1833, Lucy developed a passion for medicine in her 20s while working as a teacher. She was rejected by a medical school because of her gender and advised to try dentistry instead, but she faced multiple rejections there too. 😕
Lucyâ€™s Dental Education
Undaunted, she found a professor who would teach her privately and opened her own practice at age 28. It didnâ€™t take long after that for her to be recognized by her male peers for her skill and gentle chair-side manner, and she was finally accepted into the Ohio College of Dental Surgery, from which she received her degree in 1866. 🙌
The Student Becomes the Teacher
The next year, Lucy married James M. Taylor, a railcar painter and Civil War veteran. She combined her previous experience as a teacher with her hard-won dental expertise by training her husband to be a dentist too! Together, the couple established a successful practice in Lawrence, Kansas. 👩⚕️👨⚕️
After James died, Lucy spent less time on dentistry and became active in politics, campaigning for issues like womenâ€™s suffrage. Her example inspired many more women to pursue careers in dentistry.