DDS 1902, College of Physicians and Surgeons, San Fransisco
After completing her DDS degree in 1902, von Zesch worked in dental practices in San Francisco. When her office burned down in the fire that followed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, von Zesch provided dental procedures to the earthquake refugees at the Presidio Army base. She later organized a group of dentists to provide dental care for the Navy's Great White Fleet when it returned from its around-the-world tour in 1908.
Von Zesch craved adventure and traveled the country, often setting up temporary dental practices during her visits. In 1915, von Zesch was visiting her sister in Alaska when the local dentist asked her to take over his practice while he was on vacation. She ended up staying for 15 years, often traveling by dog sled to reach patients in remote areas. Later in her career, von Zesch worked as a prison dentist at the California Institution for Women in Tehachapi and even trained several prisoners to work as her dental assistants.
For more information about von Zesch, read her autobiography Leonie: A Woman Ahead of Her Time.
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