Lucy Hobbs was born March 14, 1833 in Constable, New York.
Lucy taught school for ten years in Michigan before she decided to become a dentist.
Then in 1859, Lucy moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where she was refused admission to the Ohio College of Dental Surgery.
She became friends with a professor from the dental school who agreed to tutor Lucy in a private program of dentistry.
By 1861, Lucy had learned enough to open her own practice. Now all she needed was a community that would accept her as a dentist.
Lucy moved to Bellevue and then McGregor, Iowa where she practiced for three years.
In time, she came to be known as – “the woman who pulls teeth.”
Finally in 1865, her dedication as well as the gradual professional recognition of her private practice convinced the Iowa State Dental Society to accept her admission.
Lucy later wrote;
“People were amazed when they learned that a young girl had so far forgotten her womanhood as to want to study dentistry.”
Lucy Hobbs made history in 1866, when she became the first woman in the United States to earn a doctorate in dentistry.
Dr. Hobbs moved to Chicago and began her official practice.
Lucy soon met James Taylor, fell in love, married and convinced James to also enter dentistry.
The couple moved to Lawrence, Kansas where they practiced dentistry jointly until James passed away in 1886.
After her husband’s death, Lucy closed her practice and became active in politics, campaigning for greater woman’s rights.
Dr. Lucy wrote,
“I am a New Yorker by birth, but I love my adopted country — the West. To it belongs the credit of making it possible for women to be recognized in the dental profession on equal terms with men.”
By 1900, almost one thousand women had followed Lucy into dentistry, largely due to her accomplishments.
Dr. Lucy Hobbs Taylor died October 3, 1910, two years before Kansas granted women the right to vote.
In 1983, the American Association of Women Dentists honored her by establishing the Lucy Hobbs Taylor Award, which it presents annually to members in recognition of professional excellence and achievements in advancing the role of women in dentistry.
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