Louisville College of Dentistry

Image from Announcement of the Louisville College of Dentistry, 1907

Author’s Note

The proceeding information is applicable to the Louisville College of Dentistry in the early 1900s. By the 1920s, the College had added an additional fourth year of study. As each year progressed, various changes occurred in both curriculum and legal requirements. As such, many of these newer requirements have been omitted from this article but are still important to the College’s history along with how dentistry changed and advanced year-by-year.

Image from Announcement of the Louisville College of Dentistry, 1907

Established in 1887 as an extension of the Central University of Kentucky, set out with the purpose of teaching dental surgery in Kentucky. Located in Louisville, with more than 250,000 residents in 1907, it was built as a modern building designed specifically for the requirements of dental teaching. It was located on the Northwest corner of Broadway and Brook Streets in downtown Louisville. The aim of the College of Dentistry was to, “instruct young men of good moral character, and possessed of the necessary educational qualifications, in the science and art of dentistry, by the most modern and accepted methods and in the most direct and practical way; the purpose being to so equip its graduates that they may enter upon the practice of dentistry with every prospect of success, and to inspire them to conduct their practices and their lives upon a high professional and ethical plane. The faculty, at that time, was composed exclusively of men, “eminent in their professions and of many years’ experience as teachers.

The College of Dentistry also contained a clinic that had always been remarkable both in quantity and quality in helping Louisville residents as the city rapidly grew. In the 1906-1907 term, more patients presented at the clinic than were feasible to treat. This provided students in obtaining clinical experience that could easily secure a wide variety of cases. The surgical clinics at Gray Street Infirmary and City Hospital were both open and accessible to the College of Dentistry students. The library at the College contained an extensive collection of valuable books on dentistry along with dental magazines and was open daily while being headed by a librarian.

Image from Announcement of the Louisville College of Dentistry, 1907

Courses of Study in the Early 1900s

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Chemistry and Metallurgy
  • Operative (Surgical) Dentistry
  • Dental Pathology
  • Technics
  • Prosthetic Dentistry
  • Crown and Bridge Work
  • Orthodontia
  • Materia Medica, Pharmacology, and Therapeutics
  • Surgery
  • Anesthetics and Oral Diseases
  • Histology
  • Bacteriology
  • Pathology
  • Embryology
  • Physics and Porcelain Dental Art
  • Dental History, Practice, and Ethics
  • Dental Jurisprudence
  • Practicum/Practical Work

Admissions Requirements

The College of Dentistry followed the Code of Rules of the National Association of Dental Faculties. “The minimum preliminary educational requirement of colleges of this Association shall be a certificate of entrance into the third year of a high school, or its equivalent, the preliminary examination to be placed in the hands of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. No member of this association shall give credit of any kind to students admitted later than ten days after the opening day of the session as published in the announcement. In case one is prevented by sickness, properly certified by a reputable practicing physician, from complying with the foregoing rule, the time of admission shall not be later than twenty days from the opening day. That students in attendance at college of this Association, to obtain credit for a full term, must be and remain in attendance until the close of the session. Attendance upon three full courses of not less than thirty teaching weeks each, in separate academic years, shall be required before the examination for graduation.”

Additionally, “that the minimum time for dental teaching required by this Association to qualify students for examination for graduation shall be thirty weeks of six days each, in each of three separate academic years, exclusive of holidays. No credit will be given for matriculation and attendance for less than one half of one session, and students re-matriculating afterward, and those who have left off school work for more than one year, must enter under conditions in force when re-entering.” Lastly, “that students in attendance at colleges of this Association are required to obey the laws regulating the practice of dentistry in the various States, and failing to do this, shall not be again received into any of the colleges of this Association.” Matriculation at an early date was highly encouraged and white male students were only admitted into classes into this program.

Image from Announcement of the Louisville College of Dentistry, 1907

Schedule of Studies

Year One

  • Anatomy
  • Osteology and Dissection
  • Physiology
  • Chemistry
  • Inorganic and Laboratory
  • Metallurgy
  • Dental Anatomy
  • Prosthetic Technics
  • Histology, Didactic and Laboratory
  • General Materia Medica
  • Operative Technics
  • Pharmacology
  • Hygiene
  • Embryology
  • Physics

Year Two

  • Anatomy, Regional, Comparative, and Dissection
  • Physiology
  • Chemistry, Organic and Laboratory
  • Metallurgy, Didactic and Laboratory
  • Dental Materia Medica
  • Bacteriology, Didactic and Laboratory
  • Operative Dentistry, Didactic, and Laboratory
  • Orthodontia Technics
  • Prosthetic Dentistry, Didactic and Clinical
  • Crown and Bridge Work, Didactic and Clinical
  • Dental Pathology
  • Orthodontia, Didactic
  • Porcelain Dental Art
  • Oral Surgery
  • Oral Diseases
  • Anesthesia
  • Technics, Prosthetic and Operative
  • Review

Year Three

  • Therapeutics
  • Dental Materia Medica
  • General and Dental Pathology
  • Surgery, General and Oral and Surgical Laboratory
  • Jurisprudence
  • Orthodontia, Didactic and Clinical
  • Operative Dentistry, Didactic and Clinical
  • Prosthetic Dentistry, Didactic and Clinical
  • Crown and Bridge Work, Didactic and Clinical
  • Anesthesia
  • Electricity
  • Ethics
  • History and Practice
  • Porcelain
  • Physical Diagnosis and Practice

Requirements to Graduate

Any candidate applying to graduate from the College of Dentistry must have been twenty-one years of age, possess an acceptable moral character, including good deportment while a student, must have attended three full courses of not less than thirty teaching weeks each, in separate academic years, the last of which must have been at the College of Dentistry before examination for the degree. Additionally, candidates must have entered college not later than the tenth day after the beginning of each session and must have been governed by the rules and regulations that were in force at the time or adopted sometime later by the National Association of Dental Faculties. Practical requirements included depositing a creditable specimen of prosthesis to the College Museum that was made in the College laboratory. Candidates also had to perform satisfactorily in the College Infirmary and had to satisfy all laboratory requirements. Lastly, candidates were required to pass the examinations that were required and to clear any outstanding debts with the College of Dentistry.

Regulations and Fees

  • Each student, before beginning work in year one, was required to procure specific dental instruments. The fee for the instrument outfit was $25 for year one, $50 for year two, and $75 for year three.
  • Students were required to matriculate before they could be considered students of the College of Dentistry
  • Seats, laboratory, infirmary, and all other privileges were assigned in order of matriculation.
  • Every student was required to deposit a fee of $2 to cover keys and general breakage. This fee would be returned upon completion so long as nothing was missing or broken.
  • Students were not permitted to take any examinations until all outstanding dues had been paid in full to the Dean.
  • Each class was held accountable for willful or reckless injury to College property when it was impossible to determine individual responsibility.
  • Each student agreed to comply with the rules of the institution.
  • The cost for each student, during the 1907-1908 academic year was $150.00.

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Contributed by Shawn Logan | contact@kyhi.org

⁘ Works Cited ⁘

  1. The Lexington Leader, 9 December 1949
  2. The Lexington Leader, 12 December 1952
  1. Announcement of the Louisville College of Dentistry. John P. Morton & Co.: Louisville, Kentucky. 1907.

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