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Sindecuse Museum

Women Dentists: Changing the Face of Dentistry

Women currently make up nearly half of all dental students and 25% of practicing dentists. Before the 1970s, only 3% of dentists were women. Independent-minded women struggled to obtain degrees, establish practices, and be respected as professionals.

Jessie Castle La Moreaux with patient

1897

Jessie Castle La Moreaux, DDS, treats a patient in her office. Photo courtesy of Rockwall County Historical Foundation.

Marie Hyman, DDS, with patient.  Photo courtesy of National Archives (photo number 165-WW-245B-6).

1918

Marie Hyman, DDS, in her office with a patient. Photo courtesy of National Archives (photo number 165-WW-245B-6).

Jeannine Nordeen, DDS, and an assistant work on a patient. Photo courtesy of National Archives (photo number 111-SC-680025).

1980

Jeannine Nordeen, DDS, and an assistant with a patient. Photo courtesy of National Archives (photo number 111-SC-680025).

Bonita Neighbors, DDS, consults with patient Nelly Sanders. Photo courtesy University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

2012

Bonita Neighbors, DDS, consults with patient Nelly Sanders. Photo courtesy of University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

We like the fact that women within our own university are highlighted within the exhibit [and] that women from diverse backgrounds were emphasized.

U-M Gradutate Student Visitor, April 2013

I thought the best part was the individual displays of the very accomplished women and information about their different areas of expertise.

U-M Graduate Student Visitor, April 2013

Profiles

Here are four women who changed the face of the profession. Click on each link to learn more about these impressive dentists.

Clara Walworth MacNaughton

Clara W. MacNaughton

(1854-1948)

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Vida Annette Latham (1866-1958)

Vida Annette Latham

(1866-1958)

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Leonie von Zesch (1882-1944)

Leonie von Zesch

(1882-1944)

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Jeanne C. Sinkford (1933-)

Jeanne C. Sinkford

(1933-)

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Timeline

Click here to view an interactive timeline about the history of women dentists.

 

More Information

This online exhibit features only a small portion of the material in our Women Dentists Exhibit. Watch for future updates on these topics:

  • The four women profiled above, and other impressive women in dentistry
  • Are women fit for dentistry?
  • Women dentists in the military
  • Minority women dentists
  • Choosing a dental specialization
  • Women's dental organizations

To view this and other exhibits, visit the museum in the Kellogg Building on the University of Michigan campus. Click here for directions to the museum.

 

 

Exhibition Credits:

Special thanks to:
James S. Hayward, DDS; Sharon L. Brooks, DDS; Debbie Lawhon, Curator, Rockwall County Historical Foundation; Jeanne McGuire and F. Patrick McGuire, DDS; Gillian Payne; Dr. Scott Swank, Curator, National Museum of Dentistry; Marilyn Woolfolk, DDS.

Museum Staff:
Kathy Daniels, Collections Coordinator.
Shannon O’Dell, Curator & Director.
Research: Krystal Thomas; Molly McGuire; Lindsay Smith.

Contracted Services:
Exhibition Design and installation: Hutchinson Studios, LLC.
Graphic Design: Tooth & Rag, LLC.
Exhibit Research and Script: Brynn Raupagh.