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Hiram Wesley Evans

Hiram Wesley Evans (September 26, 1881 – September 14, 1966) was the only dentist to appear on the front cover of Time Magazine.  Evans was born in Ashland, Alabama, on September 26, 1881, and moved to Hubbard, Texas, with his family as a child.  He was the son of Hiram Martin Evans, a judge, and his wife, Georgia Evans.  Evans attended Vanderbilt University and became a dentist.  He operated a small, moderately successful practice in downtown Dallas, Texas until 1920, when he joined the Klan’s Dallas chapter.  Rumors later arose that his dental qualifications were “a bit shady”.  He quickly rose through the ranks and became Imperial Wizard, the national leader, in November 1922.  Evans transformed the group into a political power. He was the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan from 1922 to 1939.

Evans had led kidnapping and torture, but he publicly discouraged vigilante actions for fear that they would hinder his attempts to gain political influence.  In 1923, Evans presided over the largest Klan gathering in history, attended by over 200,000, and endorsed several successful candidates in 1924 elections. He moved the Klan’s headquarters from Atlanta to Washington, DC, and organized a march of 30,000 members, the largest march in the organization’s history, on Pennsylvania Avenue.  Evans’ efforts notwithstanding, the Klan was buffeted by damaging publicity in the early 1920s, partially because of leadership struggles between Evans and his rivals, which hindered his political efforts.

In addition to his white supremacist ideology, he fiercely condemned Catholicism, unionism, and communism, which were associated with recent immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe.  Historians credit Evans with refocusing the Klan on political activities and recruiting outside the South; the Klan grew most in the Midwest and industrial cities. 

Evans described himself as “the most average man in America”.  Of average height and somewhat overweight, Evans was well dressed, a skilled speaker, and very ambitious.  He was also a Freemason.

In his writings on the subject, he cited the nation’s illiteracy rate as evidence that American public schools were failing, and he considered low teacher salaries and child labor key obstacles to reform.  He supported the idea of a federal Department of Education, hoping that it would lead to improvements in public schools.  Evans wrote four books in the mid to late 1920s: The Menace of Modern Immigration (1923), The Klan of Tomorrow (1924), Alienism in the Democracy (1927), and The Rising Storm (1929).

In 1924, the group convinced Republican Party leaders to avoid criticizing it, prompting Time to put Evans on its cover.  That year, the Klan supported Calvin Coolidge in his successful candidacy for president of the United States.   Although Coolidge opposed many key Klan platforms, with the exception of immigration restrictions and prohibition, he was the only major-party candidate who did not condemn them.  Nonetheless, Evans declared Coolidge’s victory a great success for the Klan. Evans’ attempts to elect Klansmen to public offices in 1924 saw limited success except in Indiana.

Evans’ service as Imperial Wizard proved to be a lucrative position, allowing him to maintain a large residence in a prestigious Atlanta neighborhood.  In the mid-1930s, however, Klan funds dwindled, and he worked for a Georgia-based construction company selling products to the Georgia Highway Board. In 1940, the state of Georgia charged Evans and a member of the state highway board with price fixing.  The Attorney General of Georgia, directed legal proceedings against Evans that resulted in a $15,000 fine.  As late as 1949, Evans served as a commentator on Klan activities, speaking as the former Imperial Wizard. He died on September 14, 1966 in Atlanta.

 

Dentists in History-Cannon

Billy Cannon

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Dentists in History-Maynard

Dr. Edward Maynard

Dentists in History

Edward Maynard was born in Madison, New York, on April 26, 1813.  In 1831 he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point but resigned after only a semester due to ill health and became a dentist in 1835.

Maynard continued to practice dentistry for the rest of his life, becoming one of the most prominent dentists in the United States.  Practicing in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., his clientele included the country’s political elite, including Congressmen and Presidents, and it is reported that he was offered but declined the position of Imperial Dentist to Tsar Nicholas I.  In 1857 he became professor of theory and practice at Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.

Maynard invented many dental methods and instruments, but is most famous for his firearms inventions.  In 1845 Maynard patented the first of 23 firearms-related patents he was awarded during his life.  He achieved lucrative fame for his first patent, an 1845 priming system which cycled a small mercury fulminate charge to the nipple of a percussion cap firearm.  His system used a magazine from which a paper roll, not unlike modern cap guns, advanced a charge over the nipple as the gun was cocked; this was intended to accelerate the gun’s rate of fire as the shooter could concentrate on loading and firing the gun. 

In 1845 the Maynard system was installed on 300 converted percussion muskets and trials were considered successful.  Maynard turned over the patent rights to his priming system to the United States Federal Government in exchange for a royalty of $1.00 per weapon: a substantial sum at the time (the cost of making an entire 1861 Springfield was $18.00).  However the system was complicated and often malfunctioned in wartime conditions.  In 1860 U.S. ordnance officers recommended dropping the Maynard Tape Primer System, and the famous 1861 Springfield rifled muskets did not use it.

In 1851, however, Maynard had patented a more successful idea: a simple lever operated breechloading rifle, which used a metallic cartridge of his own invention.  When the gun’s lever was depressed the barrel rose, opening the breech for loading. Afterwards the lever was raised to close the gun’s breech. The cartridge, which had a wide rim permitting swift extraction, was reloadable up to 100 times.  This was of particular advantage to the Confederacy, as the cartridges could be manufactured without the sophisticated equipment that the south generally lacked.  Another significant feature was that the use of a metallic cartridge prevented gas escape at the breech, a serious concern for early externally primed breechloaders.

The Springfield Armory manufactured a sample Maynard carbine in .48 caliber and it was tested in May 1856.  The gun, fired at ranges from 100 to 500 yards, was considered the best breechloader tested. 

Maynard and his financial backers founded the Maynard Arms Company in 1857, contracting the Massachusetts Arms Company to manufacture the new gun for civilian and military use.  The guns, known as Maynards, were offered in .35 and .50 caliber, and could be purchased with interchangeable smoothbore shotgun barrels.  A second army test resulted in a military contract for four hundred .50 caliber Maynard carbines. The factory began producing 20,000 Maynard carbines for the U.S. government but deliveries did not begin until June 1864, continuing through May 1865. 

Some Southern states had purchased Maynards for their state militias in late 1860 and early 1861.  About 3000 Maynards were in Southern hands during the war, mostly in Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi units.  The First Model Maynard was listed as an official firearm in Confederate ordnance manuals.  The Maynard had a good reputation for long range accuracy and Confederate sharpshooters made extensive use of it, especially during the Siege of Charleston.  It continued in production as a highly regarded centerfire target and hunting rifle until 1890.

In 1888 Dr. Maynard held the chair of Dental Theory and Practice at the National University in Washington.  He died on May 4, 1891, and was buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. 

 

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Dr. Robert Dudley

Dentists in History

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Benjamin Lewis Salomon

Benjamin Lewis Salomon (1914 – 1944) was born into a Jewish family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 1, 1914.  He was an Eagle Scout, one of nine who were awarded the Medal of Honor.  He graduated from Shorewood High School and attended Marquette University, before transferring to the University of Southern California, where he completed his undergraduate degree.  He graduated from the USC Dental School in 1937 and began a dental practice.

In 1940, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and began his military service as an infantry private, qualifying expert in rifle and pistol.  In 1942, he was notified that he would become an officer in the Army Dental Corps and was commissioned a first lieutenant.  In August 14, 1942, the 102nd Infantry Regt. commanding officer declared him the unit’s “best all-around soldier”.  In May 1943, he was serving as the regimental dental officer of the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division.  He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1944. 

In June 1944, Salomon saw his first combat — going ashore on Saipan with the 105th Infantry.  With little dental work to do during active combat, Salomon volunteered to replace the 2nd Battalion’s surgeon, who had been wounded.  As the 2nd Battalion advanced, casualties were high. On July 7, Salomon’s aid station was set up only 50 yards behind the forward foxhole line.  Fighting was heavy and a major Japanese assault soon overran the perimeter, then the aid station.  Salomon was able to kill the enemy that entered the hospital tent and ordered the wounded to be evacuated, while he stayed to cover their withdrawal. 

Medal of Honor Citation

CAPTAIN BEN L. SALOMON
UNITED STATES ARMY

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Captain Ben L. Salomon was serving at Saipan, in the Marianas Islands on July 7, 1944, as the Surgeon for the 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. The Regiment’s 1st and 2d Battalions were attacked by an overwhelming force estimated between 3,000 and 5,000 Japanese soldiers. It was one of the largest attacks attempted in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Although both units fought furiously, the enemy soon penetrated the Battalions’ combined perimeter and inflicted overwhelming casualties. In the first minutes of the attack, approximately 30 wounded soldiers walked, crawled, or were carried into Captain Salomon’s aid station, and the small tent soon filled with wounded men. As the perimeter began to be overrun, it became increasingly difficult for Captain Salomon to work on the wounded. He then saw a Japanese soldier bayoneting one of the wounded soldiers lying near the tent. Firing from a squatting position, Captain Salomon quickly killed the enemy soldier. Then, as he turned his attention back to the wounded, two more Japanese soldiers appeared in the front entrance of the tent. As these enemy soldiers were killed, four more crawled under the tent walls. Rushing them, Captain Salomon kicked the knife out of the hand of one, shot another, and bayoneted a third. Captain Salomon butted the fourth enemy soldier in the stomach and a wounded comrade then shot and killed the enemy soldier. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Captain Salomon ordered the wounded to make their way as best they could back to the regimental aid station, while he attempted to hold off the enemy until they were clear. Captain Salomon then grabbed a rifle from one of the wounded and rushed out of the tent. After four men were killed while manning a machine gun, Captain Salomon took control of it. When his body was later found, 98 dead enemy soldiers were piled in front of his position. Captain Salomon’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Captain Salomon is the only dentist to receive the Medal of Honor.

 

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Greene Vardiman Black

Greene Vardiman Black (1836–1915), commonly known as G.V. Black, is known as one of the founders of modern dentistry in the United States.  He is also known as the father of operative dentistry.  He was born near Winchester, Illinois on August 3, 1836.  He spent his early life on a farm and quickly developed an interest in the natural world.  After the Civil War, in which he served as a Union scout, he relocated to Jacksonville, Illinois.  It was here that he began an active career and research in the developing field of dentistry.  He studied dentistry for 20 months, as was common at the time, followed by an apprenticeship. He taught in the Dental Department at the University of Iowa, beginning in 1890 before moving to Chicago.

He researched many important topics in dentistry, including the cause of dental fluorosis and ideal cavity preparations.  One of his many inventions was a foot-driven dental drill.  He is also known for his principles of tooth preparations, in which he outlines the proper methods to prepare teeth for fillings.  These cavity preparations used principles of engineering and material sciences to maximize strength and retention of the amalgam filling and minimize fractures as well as tooth anatomy, to minimize pulp exposure.  The phrase, “extension for prevention”, is still famous in the dental community today and represents Black’s idea that dentists should incorporate more grooves and pits than those currently exhibiting decay as a preventive measure against those grooves and pits developing tooth decay in the future, although today ideas have changed and focus much more on minimal intervention.  Black published his concepts and ideals in his text Manual of Operative Dentistry in 1896.

Further, he organized ‘Black’s Classification of Caries Lesions’ which is still in use today.  Since that time, only one more category has been added to his classification system.

Black’s Classification of Caries Lesions:

  • Class I Caries affecting pits and fissures on occlusal third of molars and premolars, occlusal two thirds of molars and premolars, and lingual part of anterior teeth.
  • Class II Caries affecting proximal surfaces of molars and premolars.
  • Class III Caries affecting proximal surfaces of central incisors, lateral incisors, and cuspids without involving the incisal angles.
  • Class IV Caries affecting proximal including incisal angles of anterior teeth.
  • Class V Caries affecting gingival 1/3 of facial or lingual surfaces of anterior or posterior teeth.
  • Class VI (never described by Black, added later by W J Simon in 1956) Caries affecting cusp tips of molars, premolars, and cuspids.

In addition to developing a standard for cavity preparations, G.V. Black also experimented with various mixtures of amalgam.  After years of experimentation, Black published his balanced amalgam formula in 1895.  This formula and its variations quickly became the gold standard and would remain such for almost 70 years.  Black’s son, Arthur continued the legacy of his father, continuing dental research, gaining academic and political support for the importance of the sciences in dental education, and making university education mandatory for dentists.

G.V. Black was the second Dean of Northwestern University Dental School, where his portrait hung until the school’s closure in 2001.  His statue can be found in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.  He was also inducted in the International Hall of Fame of Dentistry of the Pierre Fauchard Academy on February 25, 1995.

 

David J. Acer

David J. Acer (November 11, 1949 – September 3, 1990) was an American dentist who was accused of infecting 6 of his patients with HIV. One of his alleged victims was Kimberly Bergalis
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Dentists in History-Doc Holliday

Dentists in History

John HenryDocHolliday (August 14, 1851 – November 8, 1887)

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11-18Gilbert_Stuart_Portrait_of_George_Washington

George Washington’s Dental Problems

George Washington never owned a set of wooden teeth, but he did own many sets of dentures.

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