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Ohio College of Dental Surgery

Cincinnati, Ohio



Internet Archive has digital copies of the 1903 and 1904 Alethian, the school yearbook. has those for 1902 and 1903.  The Cincinnati Post and Cincinnati Daily Gazette covered some school activities.  The 1903 image of Lucy Hobbs Taylor (right) is from Wikipedia.


The second oldest dental college in the United States, Ohio College of Dental Surgery was chartered in 1845 “to give a course of instruction . . .necessary to a thorough knowledge of the theory and practice of Dentistry.”  Dr. James Taylor is credited as the founder of the college.  At the 27th annual commencement in 1873, O.C.D.S. proudly announced that it had graduated 270 dentists up to that point.  Included in that number was Lucy Hobbs Taylor, who in 1866 became the first woman ever to receive a D.D.S degree.


The 1904 Alethian shows a student body of 184—including two female students in each of the three classes.  The graduating class that year numbered 72.  Most students came from Ohio and the surrounding states of  Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. 


Students had chapters of the two main dental fraternities—Phi Alpha Chi and Psi Omega.  There were three musical groups—a glee club, a mandolin club and the O.C.D.S. Band.  Another formal organization was the Duscheirotos Club.  Students published the yearbook, which contained a considerable amount of creative writing.   Those from Kentucky had their own regional club.  


Through the years O.C.D.S. received both good and bad news coverage from newspapers.  In 1856 The Daily Gazette announced that the infirmary would remain open through the summer to provide free tooth extraction and perform other dental work for only a “trifle over the cost of material used.”  On the other hand, in 1897 several out-of-state newspapers reported that two O.C.D.S. students were hanged in Newport, KY for the decapitation of a young woman named Pearl Bryan. The story of her life and death later became the stuff of myth and legend as reported in Midwest Folklore. According to the Denver Post, the two students did dental work for Newport townspeople while awaiting execution.


In 1888 Ohio College of Dental Surgery became "affiliated" with the University of Cincinnati. Later publications  bore the sub-title “Dental Department of the University of Cincinnati.”  But O.C.D.S. never lost its name or independent status.  As late as 1923, newspapers were reporting a possible merger of the schools.  O.C.D.S. closed in 1926.

Bricks and Mortar


Alethian notes that O.C.D.S. was located in an area of half a million people, providing a large clinical base for student practice.


After it opened, O.C.D.S. quickly occupied a building at 27 College Street between Sixth and Seventh Streets, an address it occupied for almost half a century.  When it outgrew that building in 1895, O.C.D.S.purchased property at the corner of Center Avenue and Court Street.  The new building measured 90 by 100 feet.  It was three stories above ground and adapted “to the requirements of modern dental education.”   Newspapers later list that address as the home of Doyle’s Dancing Academy. reports that around 1913 the college moved to a building at 7th and Mound Street. 


Lucy Hobbs Taylor_edited.jpg

The Center Avenue and Court Street Building.  Image from Alethian ( Accessed 2-27-2018


            Colors: All Alethian covers are red and black, possibly the school colors.  


The first Alethian yearbook shows a baseball team; that of 1903 shows both baseball and football teams.  That of 1904 adds a track team.


Neither the yearbooks nor available newspapers show any schedules or game results for any of the sports.

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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