Lucy Hobbs Taylor

Year Inducted: 
1995
Lucy Hobbs Taylor
Highlights: 
  • First woman in the world to receive a doctorate in dentistry
  • In 1867 she established a joint dentistry practice with her husband in Lawrence, Kansas
Biography: 

Lucy Hobbs Taylor was born on March 14, 1833, in New York. In 1849, she moved to Michigan, where she served as a schoolteacher for the next decade. In 1859, she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio.

Upon arriving in Cincinnati, Taylor sought admittance to the Eclectic Medical College. This institution had previously admitted women, however, shortly before Taylor's arrival, the school prohibited women from enrolling. A professor at the Eclectic Medical College agreed to tutor Taylor and also encouraged her to practice dentistry. Taylor applied to the Ohio College of Dentistry, but she was refused admittance because of her gender. A recent graduate of the college agreed to tutor Taylor, and in 1861, she opened her own practice in Cincinnati despite not having received a diploma.

In 1862, Taylor moved to Iowa, where she opened a new dentistry practice. She quickly gained acceptance as a dentist, becoming a member of the Iowa State Dental Society and serving as one of this group's delegates to the American Dental Association Convention in 1865. This same year, the Ohio College of Dentistry agreed to waive its policy prohibiting women from attending the institution, allowing Taylor to enroll as a senior student because of her several years of dentistry experience. She received her diploma in 1866. Taylor was the first woman in the world to receive a doctorate in dentistry.

Upon receiving her degree, Taylor established a dental practice in Chicago, Illinois. In 1867, she married James Myrtle Taylor and began to teach her husband dentistry. The couple moved to Lawrence, Kansas, in 1867, where they established a joint practice. They continued providing dental care to this community until 1886, when Mr. Taylor died. Mrs. Taylor retired from dentistry the following year and devoted her time to numerous charity organizations. She also was a supporter of women's rights and an active member in the Republican Party. In 1895, she reestablished her dental practice and continued as a dentist until her death in 1910.


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