The Tufts Dental Gang

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The Tufts Dental Gang

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Posted: 03 Mar 2006 04:57 am
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Interesting background info on many interesting characters well-known to fluoride researchers, including Bibby, Manly etc.

The impact of Research on the Tufts College Dental School: From Dean Marjerison to Dean Marshall-Day (1933-1958)

By Charles B. Millstein, DMD, MPH, ALM

Following the death of Dean William Rice in 1932, Howard Mitchell Marjerison assumed the leadership of the dental school. Marjerison was borne in Lawrence, Massachusetts (895), graduated from Tufts College Dental School (1913), and was a member of the first group of Forsyth interns in 1916. He rose through the academic ranks from instructor to the head of the Department of Partial Prosthetics.

Two colleagues helped formulate Marjerison's philosophy-the need for a strong, basic research component as part of dental education. A LeRoy Johnson (D'03) had crusaded during the early part of the century to free dental education from the influence of its inherited mechanical and technical views. He was responsible for the creation of the Rockefeller Fellows at the Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (1930) and was a key architect in the formation of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (1942).

The second was Percy R. Howe of the Forsyth Infirmary. Marjerison shared Howe's ideas emphasizing the need to place dental education within the structure of medical education and the university as the whole.1

Marjerison advocated three changes in the dental school. First, he reasoned that a bachelor's degree should be part of the entrance requirement as was the case for the medical school. Secondly, he thought internships after graduation were needed. Thirdly, he supported the concept of full-time teachers and researchers. When he left Tufts in 1940 to become dean of the University of Illinois Dental School, his visionary ideas for Tufts had been planted.2

Marjerison's successor, Basil Glover Bibby, earned his American dental degree at Tufts in 1939. Brought to the dental school by Tufts President Leonard Carmichael, Bibby's mission was to stimulate research activities, and his selection represented a change in the university process that rewarded scientific accomplishment as well as technical skills.

Bibby's credentials included a dental degree from New Zealand's Otago University (1927) as well as a Ph.D. in bacteriology (1935) from the first class of the Rockefeller Fellows at the Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.3

As dean, he held the title of professor of bacteriology and pathology with equal standing in both the medical and dental schools. The pressures of World War II prevented him from completing his mission of creating needed space, funding and personnel for research.

Bibby recruits key personnel

Bibby recruited Dr. Joseph Volker, who had received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Rochester, to become professor of operative dentistry. In addition, Bibby elevated Dr. Irving Glickman (D'38) a research-oriented clinician, to associate professor of oral pathology. This helped reassure both alumni and trustees that the technical skills needed for professional competence had not been forgotten. Lectures by Bibby, Volker, and Glickman on dentally related scientific issues increased the students' intellectual challenge.

Bibby chose fellow Rochesterian, Richard S. Manly, to become director of research at Tufts (1945) to increase the scope for potential research. Manly held a Ph.D. in biochemistry (1938).

Dr. Finn Brudevold, a Norwegian, who held an American dental degree from the University of Minnesota and had done research work in fluoride chemistry and hard tissue under Volker at the University of Rochester, helped complete the group of basic scientists.

Bibby appointed Dr. Helmut Zander, a histopathologic researcher at Northwestern prior to coming to Tufts, as head of the oral diagnostic clinic to emphasize the relationship between clinical signs and underlying tissue pathology.4

Dr. John O'Rourke, retired dean of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, continued and expanded his studies of the relationship between dental health and function and systemic disease and longevity. Through O'Rourke's colleague, Dr. Philip Blackerby, director of dental section of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Tufts received a $90,000 grant to fund postgraduate research.

As World War II wound down, refresher courses for returning staff and clinicians became necessary. In cooperation with MDS, Tufts offered postgraduate instruction under O'Rourke's direction (1946).5

To ensure the best clinical education available, Bibby brought in Dr. Irving Hardy as co professor in prosthetics, Dr. Wyman took charge of pedodontics, and Dr. Herbert Margolis (1945) reorganized the orthodontic department which initiated a two-year orthodontic postgraduate course (1947).7

In 1945, Bibby formalized an informal arrangement with Dr. Stephen Mallett of Boston City Hospital's oral surgery clinic. Tufts students now had privileges at the clinic. In 1949, the Boston Dispensary dental clinic also became an integral part of the dental school.

Stimulating dental scientists

One of the by-products of Bibby's influence was the stimulation of the next generation of dental scientists. Two of the more prominent examples are John Hein and Erling Johansen. Hein was directly influenced by Bibby's group and, after graduation and a tour of duty, began his Ph.D. work at Rochester where he dedicated his scientific endeavors toward the control and prevention of major oral disease.

Johansen and a group of 22 Norwegian students were brought to this country through Brudevold's efforts with the Norwegian government in order to offset the shortage of dentists in his native country resulting from the Nazi occupation and the closing of their dental school during World War II. Johansen, influenced by a positive research experience at Tufts, sought his future training in academic dentistry at Rochester.8

When Harvey Burkhardt, the first director and architect of Eastman Dental Dispensaries died, Bibby accepted a new challenge and became the second director. He combined dental research activities at the University of Rochester with the clinical and financial resources of the Eastman Dispensary to create an international clinical dentistry and research center. Bibby nominated Joseph Volker to become his successor as dean of Tufts.9

Joseph Volker

Volker assumed his new position in 1947 and remained dean for two years.

The 35-year-old dean was born in Elizabeth, NJ, and at age 24 graduated from the Indiana School of Dentistry. With a Carnegie grant, he studied at the University of Rochester and earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry (1940).10

As professor of clinical dentistry at Tufts, he introduced an enthusiastic and scientific spirit of inquiry into teaching. Respected, well liked, and imaginative, he was a logical choice to follow Bibby as dean.

Two prominent Alabama dentists traveled to the ADA's 1947 annual session in Boston and visited Tufts. After the tour of the school by Volker, they felt he was the man to create the proposed dental school in Birmingham.

Given the guarantee of complete control by both the president of the University of Alabama and the dean of their two-year medical school, Volker accepted the challenge to design, construct, and equip the proposed dental school building as well as to select and hire the dental school faculty. His ambition was to establish a dental school in which studen5ts received their basic sciences with the same faculty, classrooms, and laboratories as the medical students.

During 1948, Volker commuted between Boston and Birmingham as the dean of the two dental schools. As a result of this impossible arrangement, both faculty and alumni relations began to suffer, and it was difficult for Tufts to plan for the move to the new Harrison Avenue site. When Volker resigned the deanship of Tufts in 1949, Dr. Cyril David Marshall-Day was chosen as his replacement.11

Volker's impact on Tufts had further consequences since many staff members chose to be part of the new venture in Birmingham. These include Dr. Joseph Lazansky (D'43) a European trained physician-dentist head of the Department of Exodontia; Dr. Arthur Wuehrmann (D'37,) chairman of the Department of Oral Diagnosis and Radiology; Leonard Robinson (D'43, M.S. '49), oral pathology; Adeeb Thomas, endodontics; and Perry Hitchcock (D'46), and Dominick Andromoco (D'46), general practice.12

Three dental students chose to follow Volker to Alabama upon their graduation. John Sharry (D'49) returned to Tufts after a year of surgical training at Alabama to study prosthetics with Irving Hardy and then spent a year at the Zoller clinic at Chicago before returning to Alabama. Charles A. McCallum, Jr. (D'51) remained at Birmingham after completing his training in oral surgery and enrolled in medical school and later became department chairman. Majorie Houston (D'51) moved to Birmingham after graduation to become the first director of the newly created School of Dental Hygiene which never flourished since Alabama is the only state to retain the right to train hygienist by preceptorship.

Helmut Zander, chairman of the department of oral pediatrics, chose to resume his research work at the University of Minnesota, and Philip Adams, chairman of under-graduate orthodontics, returned to full-time practice.

Cyril David Marshall-Day

Marshall-Day accepted the deanship from Volker in February 1949 at the Huntington Avenue school. He had earned his dental degree (BDS) in his native New Zealand at the Otago Dental School in 1923 and his American degree at Harvard in 1927. He accepted a newly created Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in dental medicine at the University of Rochester in 1931.

After earning a Master of Science degree, he traveled extensively, studied dental education, and eventually became dean of the faculty of dentistry at the Punjab University in British India where he was later awarded a doctorate in physiology. During his 12 years in India, he was a driving force in the India Dental Association as well as a contributor to the dental literature on subjects concerning dental caries, periodontal disease, and nutrition.

In 1948, following the constitutional crisis after World War II that racked India when it was partitioned along religious lines, he left and became the director of research at the Eastman Dental Dispensary. Ten months later he accepted the deanship at Tufts vacated by Volker.13

The new Tufts medical and dental schools

Samuel Proger, physician-in-chief at the New England Medical Center Hospital, orchestrated the move of the medical and dental schools to the new Harrison Avenue location. Soon after Leonard Carmichael became president of Tufts College, Proger began actively campaigning to link the schools geographically with the Harrison Avenue facilities.

Historically known as a regional medical school that graduated about 100 family practitioners yearly, the new presence of Tufts assured the continuity and permanence of the Bingham Program, a medical education program for family doctors. In addition, the physicians and dentists, many of whom would settle in New England, would study at the Pratt and would look upon the Farnsworth, The Boston Floating, and the dispensary as major links in their professional training.

Tufts now had a principal teaching affiliation for its inclusive use, not shared with Harvard and Boston University, at the Boston City Hospital. In addition, Proger successfully integrated two important components of American medicine, the university hospital and the private group practice utilized at the Pratt.

Since Tufts could only raise $1.5 million of the needed $2.5 million, President Carmichael purchased and remodeled an eight-story garment building at 136 Harrison Avenue for the medical and dental schools, and Tufts-New England Medical Center was born.14

At this time, Marshall-Day took the opportunity to restructure the faculty. Daniel Holland (Harvard Dental School) became chairman of oral surgery, Frederick Shiere (Northwestern Dental School-University of Nebraska) became chairman of oral pediatrics, and John Barr (University of Toronto Dental School) became chairman of oral diagnosis and dental radiology.

In addition, the following people joined the staff at this time: Orrin Greenberg (University of Pennsylvania) in operative dentistry, Edward Sleeper (University of Pennsylvania) in oral surgery, Helmi Fogel (University of Heidelberg) in oral pediatrics, Gerald Shklar (McGill University Dental School) in oral pathology, Alan Fooks (Guy's Hospital Dental School, Northwestern Dental School) in operative dentistry, Calvin Stanton (D'49) in operative dentistry.

Leonard Carmichael's presidency of Tufts, 1938-1952, saw fundamental changes at Tufts. The Tufts College that celebrated its centennial in 1952 had evolved from a small regional college into a small, high-quality modern university.

Even though the undergraduate college remained the core of the institution and the teaching of students remained its emphasis, the college's center of gravity had evolved into graduate scientific research and education that included the physical sciences on the Medford campus and the medical sciences at the Harrison Avenue complex.

Carmichael's own academic and professional interests in sensory psychology and physiology and his predisposition toward scientific research were in a large part responsible for industry-sponsored research projects through the college. Carmichael considered the move of the medical and dental schools to the South Cove area the most important accomplishment of his administration.

His protégé Nils Wessell, had trained under him in psychology at Brown (M.A>) and University of Rochester (Ph.D., 1938) and was recruited by Tufts College in 1939, a year after Carmichael became president. An excellent administrator who was familiar with his mentor's philosophy, Wessell expanded the growth begun by Carmichael. On June 28, 1955, Tufts officially became a university. The graduate divisions became schools and undergraduate components became colleges.15

Wessell also initiated the Tufts Self Study in 1956. Funded by the Carnegie Foundation, the two-year study delved deeply into the overall working of all schools in the university. The dental school received high grades for its undergraduate and graduate programs and its research activities.

A number of recommendations noted needed changes to increase the effectiveness of dental education and research. Richard Manly represented the dental school on research topics.16

Marshall-Day was cognizant of the changes occurring within the college and its graduate schools. He presided over a symposium, "the Educational Philosophy of Tufts College Dental School," sponsored by the Greater Boston Dental Society in 1953.

Marshall-Day informed the audience "that the future of the profession lay in substituting prevention for repair and this would require a shift in dental teaching away from the mechanical arts and toward the biological aspects of dental education. Dentistry could best serve mankind by promoting oral health as part of the health and welfare of the individual and society."17

By 1954, Tufts Dental School enrolled 360 students, and Irving Glickman administered postgraduate and refresher courses annually for 250 to 500 dentists. Postgraduate and master's programs were available in five specialty areas, and the school's faculty received $152,000 for research from outside funds.18 The ADA's assessment of Tufts stated, "Tufts has consistently enrolled students with a total academic average, a total science average, and a total ACE or mental level average considerably higher than the national average."19

Posner hall, the first dormitory for Tufts Medical and Dental School, opened in 1954. Through the largesse of Proger's patients, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Posner of Medford, the school housed 300 males in a nondescript brick building. To house the women in the medical complex, Tufts purchased the Hemenway House on Nashua Street in 1953.20

Scientific research expands

Marshall-Day's Spartan qualities conciliatory stature, and laissezfaire leadership allowed certain departments, such as periodontics to blossom. Glickman helped inaugurate the successful annual Berkshire Conference (1950) and published his first textbook, Clinical Periodontology, in 1951.

A Spanish edition, translated by Fermin Carranza, was published in 1953. He published numerous articles in periodontology with Samuel Turesky (D'41) and Rachel Hill, and in oral pathology with Gerald Shklar (M.A., 1951).

Glickman's department was responsible for Shklar's collaborative efforts with Phillip McCarthy in oral medicine and Irving Meyer (D'44) in oral cancer research. As a result of his relationships with Colonel Joseph Bernier, chief of the dental and oral pathological section of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Glickman succeeded in acquiring grant money to fund periodontal research. Soon Tufts and periodontics were synonymous.21

Margolis's department also fared well. In addition to attracting the best dental school graduates to his postgraduate course, his research led to the development of the cephalostat (an instrument that helped in the diagnosis of malocclusion). Margolis created the Cleft Palate Clinic (1953) on the third floor of the nurses' registry at 37 Bennet Street in order to present a comprehensive plan in one location where afflicted children could acquire their needed medical, dental, and speech therapies.22

Richard Manly's research group consisted of a federation of full-time basic science researchers assisted by technicians and student members of the Robert R. Andrews Society. Their principal funding came from the National Institutes of Health, the United States Public Health Service, the Veteran's Administration, and industry. This was consistent with Manly's approach of supporting each worker until the researcher became established and could generate grant money.

Vincent F. Lisanti played a key role within the loose federation, a significant portion of his research was funded through the Office of Naval Research. In addition to his own research that included scientific collaboration with the medical school and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he was responsible for mentoring and placing aspiring Ph.D. candidates into local universities for training.

As an example, Howard Chauncey matriculated in biochemistry at Boston University and Donald Giddon in psychology at Brandeis University. By 1956, Tufts Dental School had become the largest grant and contract oral research center in the country.23

In oral pediatrics, Frederick Shiere divided his time between administering the pediatric dental clinic in the basement of the Boston Dispensary and supervising research work in his department. Along with Helmi Fogel, he evaluated tooth-cleaning agents and topical fluorides and studied orthodontic and physiological problems of erupting teeth.

Part-time clinicians, such as Harold Berk, clinically evaluated research in pulpal therapy that was done by Zander, Lisanti, and Glass. M. Michael Cohen (D'28) authored numerous papers on the periodontal conditions of developmentally retarded children.24

John Barr's department of oral radiology was responsible for a number of papers on long-cone technology as well as radiation safety. Endodontists Arthur Pearson and Melvin Goldman were beginning to publish on the bacteriology of root canals. Albert Yurkstas coauthored with Manly numerous papers on the chewing efficiency of the artificial dentition. There also was some research in oral diagnosis and dental materials.25

Daniel Holland resigned from the oral surgery department in 1955 to be succeeded by Edward Sleeper until 1957 when Dr. Richard Taylor, an oral surgeon who held a master's degree from Rochester, took charge of the department. Two veteran oral surgeons, Stephen Mallett and Max Jacobs, watched over the department. Mallett (Harvard Dental School) had created the oral surgery unit at the Boston City Hospital and Jacobs (Tufts Dental School - Middlesex Medical School) had created a much smaller oral surgical department at the Beth Israel.

When Bernard Berg died in 1954, Arthur Pearson, a Tufts graduate who had done graduate work at Rochester (1940), became the new chairman of endodontics.

The prosthetic department separated into a crown and bridge department run by Frank Eich (D'44) and, a full denture department chaired by Albert Yurkstas (D'49). L. Walter Brown (D'24) was placed in charge of partial dentures, and Philip Williams (D'32) became the head of graduate and postgraduate prosthodontics.

Two decades of leadership by the first generation of dental scientists trained at Rochester had transformed the dental school. Although Marshall-Day possessed neither the charismatic and administrative brilliance of Volker nor the prolific scientific output of Bibby, he was part of a fundamental change in dentistry. Although teaching competent undergraduate dental clinicians remained its emphasis, the center of gravity of TUSDM had evolved into graduate scientific research and postdoctoral education.

Marjerison's dream of full-time teachers and researchers had come true. Dental medicine and the DMD degree became more representative of the profession as it changed from a reparative service to one of disease prevention and health preservation.


1. Thirty-ninth report, Forsyth Dental Infirmary for Children. 1954-54, 1954-1955 (in Archives, Forsyth Dental Center, Boston). pp. 15-20.

2. Miller, R.E. Light on the hill - A history of Tufts University 1852-1952. Boston: Beacon Press, 1966. p. 691.

3. Mandel, I.D. Reflections on a distinguished career: Dr. Basil Bibby: 1988 ADA Gold Medal Award Winner JADA. 117:574, 1988

4. Letter - Basil Bibby to Charles Millstein Au. 16, 1990.

5. Miller. Light on the hill - A history of Tufts College 1852-1952. p. 692

6. Letter - Basil Bibby to Charles Millstein. Aug. 16, 1990

7. Miller. A history of Tufts college, p. 692

8. Millstein, C.B. A thirty year history of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine 1960-1990. J Mass Dent 39:178, 1990

9. Mandel. Reflections on a distinguished career. JADA. 117:574, 1998.

10. Mosteller, J.H. Joseph Francis Volker Alabama's most distinguished adopted
son. Alabama: Friends and Admirers of Dr. Volker (1988). p.3.

11. Ibid. pp. 23-25.

12. Ibid. pp. 38-45.

13. The Explorer. Boston: Tufts College Dental School, 1950. p. 13.

14. Black, H. Doctor and teacher, hospital chief. Chester, CT: The Globe Pequot Press
1982. pp. 104-105

15. Miller. Light on the hill - A history of Tufts University, Since 1952. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Market Books. 1986, pp. 3-10.

16. The School of Dental Medicine. Tufts Alumni Review. Winter 1960, pp. 22-23.

17. The educational philosophy of Tufts College Dental School. Tufts Dental
Outlook, 26 (4), 1954. pp. 4-7.

18. Ibid., p. 4

19. Miller. Light on the hill - A history of Tufts College 1852-1952. p. 363

20. Tufts Recieves a gift. Tufts Dental Outlook. 26 (4), 1954. pp. 13-16.

21. New book by Irving Glickman. Tufts Dental Outlook. 26 (1), 1953, pp. 17-18

22. Tufts University Cleft Palate Institute. Tufts Dental Outlook. 28(3), 1955, p. 4-7.

23. Telephone interview with Vincent Lisanti, (New York City). Mar. 28, 1991.

24. Interview with Dr. Helmi Fogel, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA> Dec. 3 1990.

25. Interview with Dr. A. Albert Yurkstas, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Boston, MA. Nov 19, 1990.

The author is indebted to the following Tufts Alumni for
their thoughtful comments on what Tufts College Dental School was like:
Dr. Arthur Wuehrmann (D'37), Dr. Samuel Turesky (D'41), and Dr. Basil Henriques (D'47).
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