Friday, September 02, 2011

Beginner's guide to the history of dentistry

Above: Pierre Fauchard, "the father of modern dentistry"

Last week I helped a young lady start research for her high school honors paper about the history of dentistry. Researchers who are new to working with special collections often find that they need to narrow their topic before they dive in and start using primary resources. I helped this researcher identify a selection of books about the history of dentistry in general - then we chatted about more specific areas that interested her, and resources she could use to support more research.

The books she used were a mix of recent popular books on the history of dentistry, along with some older surveys and "hardcore" historical publications. I think her selections are also good pointers for anyone else out there who's interested in learning more about the history of dentistry:

Guerini, Vincenzo. A History of Dentistry from the Most Ancient Times Until the End of the Eighteenth Century. Philadelphia and New York: Lea & Febiger, 1909.

Hoffmann-Axthelm, Walter. History of Dentistry. Chicago: Quintessence Pub. Co, 1981.

Lufkin, Arthur Ward. A History of Dentistry. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1938.

Ring, Malvin E. Dentistry: An Illustrated History. New York: Abrams, 1985.

Taylor, James Anderson. History of Dentistry; A Practical Treatise for the Use of Dental Students and Practitioners. Philadelphia and New York: Lea & Febiger, 1922.

Weinberger, Bernhard Wolf. An Introduction to the History of Dentistry. St. Louis: Mosby, 1948.

Wynbrandt, James. The Excruciating History of Dentistry: Toothsome Tales & Oral Oddities from Babylon to Braces. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

Lufkin's History of Dentistry and Wynbrandt's Excruciating History are part of the library's circulating collections; the remaining titles form part of the History of Dentistry Collection in HC&A, and are available for research by appointment. Check the library catalog for even more books on the history of dentistry.

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