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Washington University School of Dental Medicine RecordsAdd to your cart. | Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives

Title: Washington University School of Dental Medicine RecordsAdd to your cart.
ID: RG/RG021
Extent: 25.5 Linear Feet
expand icon Biographical/Historical Note

The dental school began in 1866 as the Missouri Dental College. It was only the sixth dental school opened in the United States, and it was the first dental school established west of the Mississippi River. At the time, the School used the lecture rooms, museum, and hospitals of the St. Louis Medical College, which was located at 7th and Clark Avenue in downtown St. Louis. In 1891, the faculty of St. Louis Medical College agreed to affiliate with Washington University. The Missouri Dental College followed suite in 1892, and its name changed to the Dental Department of Washington University.

The dental school eventually moved to the School of Medicine campus in 1928 into a building at 4559 Scott Avenue. The new building featured an amphitheater, lecture rooms, science labs, and multiple clinics. Teaching internships were established at Barnes and St. Louis Children’s Hospitals in the late 1930s. During the Second World War, an accelerated curriculum was offered where the curriculum was compressed into three calendar years.

Throughout its existance, the dental school struggled financially. Discussions about closing the dental school arose in the early 1950s. In 1972, the National Institutes of Health agreed to provide almost all of the funds necessary (nearly three million dollars) to renovate and reequip the dental school’s building. This remodel greatly alliviated some financial pressures, however the dental school continued to struggle.

In June 1989, the Board of Trustees decided to close the school. This decision was based upon budget deficits; increasing tuition rates; competition from less-expensive, state-funded dental schools; limited outside funding; and a declining student pool. The 125th and final class of students graduated from the Washington University School of Dental Medicine in 1991.

expand icon Access and Use Restrictions
Restrictions: The collection is open and accessible for research.

Users of the collection should read and abide by the guidelines of the Use of Archival Collections policy at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.

Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.

For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (

Related Materials:

School of Dental Medicine online exhibit

For related materials, please see RG009 (Barnes Hospital Records) Series 9, Box 9, Folder 6: Washington University School of Dental Medicine photograph, no date.

Preferred Citation: [Item description, Box number, Folder number], Washington University School of Dental Medicine Records, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University School of Medicine.
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