Wilbur N. Van Zile, DDS, had no living heirs at the time of his death at the ripe old age of 104. A generous friend of HC&A donated the Van Zile papers to HC&A in 2009, the same year Van Zile died.
The materials consist of Van Zile's certificates and awards, manuscripts, research, teaching slides and dental equipment and supplies. There is correspondence and photographs and artifacts relating to his Naval service which includes buttons, dog tags and other uniform regalia. There is also personal correspondence between Van Zile and his wife during WWII and family photographs including two tintypes that may be Van Zile's parents. The 15 boxes of materials date from 1900-2004. It is a truly amazing collection that tells the story of his prodigious life.
And why is this newsworthy at this particular moment? The OHSU School of Dentistry just received the largest private gift in it's 112 year history. The $5.1 million bequest from the Van Zile estate will provide scholarships for oral and maxillofacial surgery residents and dental students.
The article announcing the gift also provides a wonderful short biography of Dr. Van Zile.