In 1866, the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in Cincinnati became the first dental school in the United States to grant a degree to a woman. Lucy Beaman Hobbs Taylor (1833 - 1920) earned it after only four months of study, because she already had years of experience as a practicing dentist.
People in those days didn’t expect women to have a career outside the home. Born in New York State, Hobbs was a brilliant student who wanted to study medicine. Teachers and family discouraged her, however, because that was not a common profession for a woman. In 1859, Hobbs moved to Cincinnati, studied dentistry with a veteran dentist, and worked as an apprentice for a dentist. She applied to the dental school in 1861, but was rejected because she worked in a dental office. Taylor moved to Iowa, where she opened her own dental office and became well known as an excellent dentist.
She was determined to get a dental degree, and reapplied to the Cincinnati school. They said, "yes." Taylor's persistence, and the Cincinnati school’s enlightened attitude, helped to open new opportunities for women in dentistry. She later married a dentist, and they opened a successful dental office together in Lawrence, Kansas. Taylor also became an activist for women’s rights.
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