Search Finding Aids
French dental ephemera
Print Collection 54
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- French dental ephemera
- circa 1880s-1937
- Call Number:
- Print Collection 54
- 0.2 linear foot (1 box)
- Language Note:
- The bulk of the collection is in French, however, there is some material in English as well as a small amount in German and Russian.
- This collection consists of advertisements by dentists and dental practices in France; images (both illustration and photographic) of dentists, patients, and apparatus; and writings by French dentists relating to the field of dentistry.
Cite as:French dental ephemeral, circa 1880s-1937, Print Collection 54, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
- Finding Aid's Permanent URL:
During the second half of the 19th century and the first third of the 20th century, the business of extracting, capping, and filling teeth, as well as creating dentures, crowns, and bridges, was a thriving business in France. Advances in the field of dentistry were expanding rapidly, and dentists advertised new methods, new products, and less painful procedures. American dentists appear to have been extremely sought after, probably as a result of Thomas Evans's work as dentist to European royalty. It seems that American dentists, and many who trained in Evans's native city of Philadelphia, flocked to France.
In addition to French and American dentists practicing in their own "cabinet dentaires," there were a number of businesses such as the Compagnie Dentaire Americaine, the Grand Établissement de Docteurs Américains Dentistes, L'Institut Dentaire, Palladium Dentaire, Radium Dentaire, Société Dentaire Américaine, and Union Dentaire. All appear to have advertised heavily, noting the education and honors of their dentists, procedures performed, and the proprietary skills they possessed. Most of the French dentists earned their diplomas from the Faculty of Medicine of Paris and L'École Dentaire de France, while American dentists earned their degrees from universities in Philadelphia and New York.
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of advertisements by dentists and dental practices in France; images (both illustration and photographic) of dentists, patients, and apparatus; and writings by French dentists relating to the field of dentistry. The advertisements for dentists and dental practices are alphabetized by the name of the dentist or practice, as much as possible. Advertisements are generally either a single sheet or a brochure of only a few pages and include experience and education of the dentist(s); location of the practice and hours; services provided, usually with price; specialty skills of the dentist; and languages spoken at the office. Guarantees are almost always offered. While a few of the advertisements are quite official and straightforward, many contain decorative lettering, illustrations, advertisements for dental products, or pictures of performers. Nearly all advertise American methods or American dentists; most offer "painless" procedures (which were frequently more costly than the presumably pain-filled procedures), and most promise moderate prices.
The images in this collections consist of a printed illustration of a dentist extracting a tooth, two photographs of a patient sitting in a dental chair (taken from two angles, perhaps highlighting the chair's features), and a number of photographs and illustrations of dental apparatus, possibly early versions of a dental bridge. There are also a few x-rays and their corresponding prints of abnormal teeth. There is virtually no description of the images, with the exception of an illustration of the apparatus with handwritten (and sadly, fairly illegible) notes.
The collection also includes writings about the dental profession. Four of the six articles were written by Léon Blanc, a French dentist who probably graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Dental School in 1920. He wrote about anesthesia, toothaches, the effects of chewing on the jaw, and the dental profession in Soviet Russia. His article about toothaches contains manuscript notes by an unknown author. There are two copies of "La Prothèse Dentaire Revue Traitant de Toutes les Affections de la Bouche" ("The Revised Dental Prosthesis Dealing with All Disorders of the Mouth"), by G. Gelinier. Finally, the collection contains an extract of "Blaguomanie or Honteuses Réclames," by two dentists from Montpellier, with critique by Monde Dentaire.
This collection is open for research use.
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.
Source of Acquisition
Sold by Garrett Scott, bookseller, 2018.
Controlled Access Headings
- Technical illustrations
- Writings (documents)