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Philadelphia Dental College

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



HathiTrust has made available the 1898 Philadelphia Dental College Class Book.  The 1900 yearbook is available through the Temple University Digital Collection.  These show the buildings, students and faculty, and organizations of the college prior to its merger with Temple University.  


Philadelphia Dental College was chartered in 1863 by Dr. John H. McQuillan, with classes beginning in November of that same year.  It was only the fourth dental college founded in the United States and the second in Philadelphia.   It became the first college in the nation to offer a course in oral surgery, and the hospital addition in 1878 became the first to treat oral diseases.


Philadelphia Dental College soon began to increase its graduation requirements. What had initially been a two-year program of four-month terms became a three-year program of seven-month terms.  Professors who had originally lectured 34 periods in a term tripled their lecture time.


The 1900 yearbook shows a student body of 389 students, with 105 graduates.  Mostly male, these came from 20 different states in the United States, and from 11 foreign countries.  There were two professional fraternities on campus—Xi Psi Phi and Psi Omega.  In addition, P.D.C. had a chapter of the Y.M.C.A. and a locally created Garretson Society, a service group.  Among social groups, P.D.C. formed a British-American Society.  Later yearbooks show an orchestra and other musical groups.


In 1907 Philadelphia Dental College merged with Temple University.  Until 1913, the school maintained its original name before becoming the Temple University School of Dentistry.

Sketch of the 18th and Buttonwood building.  (1898 PDC Class Book, (;view=2up;seq=18) accessed 1-27-2017

Bricks and Mortar

The Eighteenth and Buttonwood site was the third location of Philadelphia Dental College.  Having outgrown two earlier buildings, the school moved to the new building in 1897.  Philaphilia notes that this site was the “only empty space left in town.”  The new building was described as “super-thin.”  Constructed of brick and glass, it stood four stories high.   The Garretson Hospital for Oral Surgery was “hidden in the middle of the block,” visible through a dental college portal.


Since the new building was only 10 years old at the time of the merger, Temple University moved its medical and pharmacy schools there to share the facility.  By 1943 the Eighteenth and Buttonwood site had become so out of date and crowded that the dental school dropped from an A rating to a B.  In 1947 Temple University renovated the Packard car factory building and moved the dental school there, ending the college history at the Eighteenth and Buttonwood site.  The building was demolished in 1963,



        Colors: Green and Gold


The yearbooks note that while students were keen for sports—especially football—P.D.C.  had neither the time nor the money to develop major sports programs.  The 1900 yearbook notes that faculty, students and organizations ponied up the funds to buy uniforms for the football team.  At various times the school sponsored teams in football, hockey, basketball, track and baseball.  Except in football, there is little indication of opponents or schedules.


The 1899 football team compiled a 4-2-1 record, defeating Chester Military Academy, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, The Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery, and Consolidated Athletic Association.  The team lost the season opener to Atlantic City, and a match to Medico-Chirurgical College.  The team drew another match with Medico Chirurgical.  The 1899 team contained several players with experience on amateur teams, other college teams and military teams.  

Philadelphia Dental College 1897 football team.  Note the shape of the ball. (PDC Class Book,;view=2up;seq=242)

accessed 1-27-2017


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