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Chicago College of Dental Surgery

Chicago Ill



Chicago College of Dental Surgery became a part of Loyola University in 1923, so copies of Dentos, the school yearbook, are part of Loyola’s digital archive.  A catalog has also been placed on Internet Archive.  The first president, Truman W. Brophy, wrote the school history for “History of Dental Surgery.”  The final (1993) issue of Dentos contains an extended history of the college.


Brophy notes that negotiations had begun for a dental school in Chicago as early as 1869 but it was not until 1883 that one actually opened as the Collegiate Department of the Chicago Dental Infirmary.  Originally a graduate school for M.D.’s who wished to add dentistry; it found difficulty in competing with other dental schools.  In 1884 it received a second charter as the Chicago College of Dental Surgery, with a three-year program focusing on practical dentistry.


 Soon after, it became the largest dental school in the world.  The 1915 announcement shows a study body of almost 500, taught by 18 professors assisted by 16 instructors.


Among key accomplishments cited by the school was a four- week session of in-service training for practicing dentists.  C.C.D.S. may also have been the first school to provide a laboratory to culture bacteria, thus showing that cavities were caused by bacteria.


Students had an active Y.M.C.A. which provided much of the social life of the college.  The 1912 Dentos shows four professional fraternities with chapters on campus.  One of these—Alpha Zeta Gamma—was an organization of Jewish students.  

In 1889 the college became associated with Lake Forest College, and later with Valparaiso University and finally in 1923 with Loyola University, taking the name Loyola University Department of Dentistry.  Loyola University closed the school in 1993.

Bricks and Mortar

After occupying various locations, C.C.D.S. built the Harrison Avenue home in 1893. That building, described by the president as “prominent,” stood five stories with basement. Measuring 85 feet of frontage with 120 feet of depth, it was made of Bedford stone, pressed brick and terra cotta.  The second floor was given over to a dental infirmary.  The other floors were each divided among classrooms, lecture rooms, and clinics.  The largest lecture hall seated 450.  The building also contained a dissecting room with histological, chemical and bacteriological labs, allowing students to develop prosthesis and artificial dental structures.  There was also a reading room, a library and a museum.


An addition in 1896 added more space, including a gymnasium for students.


In 1969 the Loyola College of Dentistry moved to new quarters.  The Harrison building has since been razed to make way for the Cohn Research Center of Rush Medical Center.



        Team name “Dents”

       Colors:  May be cardinal and gold


Athletics at C.C.D.S. were likely not supported.  College Football Data Warehouse shows games between 1897 and 1903, when football was forbidden by the faculty.  Games seemed to be sporadic, with only five games in the busiest season.  Lake Forest College, with whom C.C.D.S. had a relationship, was the most common opponent, appearing three times.  Northwestern appeared twice on the schedule in 1902 and 1903.  Notre Dame (62-0 in 1897), Illinois (54-0 in 1903) and Knox (68-6 in 1902) all took the measure of C.C.D.S.   A major rival was College of Physicians and Surgeons, with whom C.C.D.S. played a scoreless draw in 1901. 


Apparently the Dent’s played some baseball, losing to College of Physicians and Surgeons.  Some Dents interested in track participated in the Illinois Relays.


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