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Tsarist Dentistry: Oral Medicine in Russia

At the same time as the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, dentists from around the world gathered in town for their own international meeting, the World’s Columbian Dental Congress. I. I. Khrushchov, from St. Petersburg, was one of the dentists who participated in that meeting in Chicago, but he also took the chance to set up a display at the exposition itself. Placed in the Russian section of the fair, the exhibit showed off his mechanical armchair for dental operations, his mechanical dental drill, a show-case of prosthetics, and numerous publications. Khrushchov gave one of those books, his own textbook on dentistry, to the secretary of the dental congress, A. O. Hunt, before leaving for home. A single volume of that work eventually made its way into the McKellops Collection of the dental school. After that collection was transferred to the Bernard Becker Medical Library, Khrushchov’s book remained the only Russian work in the library’s rare book collections for many years.


Cover. Ivan Khrushchov. Full dental course in 7 volumes, vol. 5, Hygiene of the           Fig. 97, Russian dentist’s office with mechanical chair. Ivan Khrushchov. Full d          Inscription. Ivan Khrushchov. Full dental course in 7 volumes, vol. 5, Hygiene o

Full Dental Course by Khrushchov

Ivan Ivanovich Khrushchov. Polnyi zubo-vrachebnyi kurs : v semi tomakh : gistologiia, anatomiia, fiziologiia, patologiia, terapiia, khirurgiia i gigiena zubov i polosti rta [Full Dental Course in Seven Volumes: Histology, Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Therapy, Surgery and Dental Hygiene and Oral Health]. 5th Ed. Vol 5. St. Petersburg: Izdana i rasprostraniaetsia spetsialnym zubo-vrachebnym kabinetom dantista Iv. Iv. Khrushchova, 1886.

McKELLOPS Khrushchov Polnyi 1886.


Soviet Stomatology

During the Cold War, many libraries in the United States made efforts to keep up with the medical literature from the Soviet Union to have information on scientific advances, but also to make sure they knew what the Russians were up to. Several libraries around the country built up large collections of Soviet medicine, and they were helped through efforts by the State Department to obtain significant works. One of those fields of medicine was dentistry. Though Soviet dentists were notorious for not providing patients much in terms of painkillers, they did pursue a rigorous study of methods and materials for correcting teeth. American librarians dutifully collected books in Russian dentistry and oral medicine - stomatology - during the middle of the 20th century to keep up with the science, which is how the New York Academy of Medicine ended up with numerous books on the subject. Recently, the NYAM decided to donate two dozen of their dental books to the Becker Library rare books collections. Looking through these books, it is interesting to see how far oral medicine had come in the eighty years from the time of Khrushchov in Imperial Russia at the turn of the century to the days of Soviet science in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Perhaps more remarkable, however, is the difference between the techniques that were used in either time and our own trips to the dentist.


Fig 12, Lymphatic system. I. M. Starobinskií. Stomatology Textbook. 1960.

Stomatology Textbook by Starobinskií

I. M. Starobinskií. Uchebnik Stomatologii [Stomatology Textbook]. 4th Ed. Medgiz: Meditsina, 1960.

xxWU 140 S795 1960.


Fig. 340, Measuring device for fitting an occlusal plate. V. IU. Kurliandskiĭ.

Orthopedic Stomatology by Kurliandskiĭ

V. IU. Kurliandskiĭ. Ortopedicheskaia stomatologiia: Zubnoe protezirovanie [Orthopedic Stomatology: Dental Prosthetics]. Moscow: Meditsina, 1963.

xxWU 500 K96o 1963.


Fig. 102b, Inserting a dental mold. V. N. Kopeĭkin. Dental Equipment. 1964.

Dental Equipment by Kopeĭkin

V. N. Kopeĭkin. Zuboproteznaia tekhnika [Dental Equipment]. Moscow: Meditsina, 1964.

xxWU 500 K83z 1964.


Fig. 122, Prosthetic to cover damaged nose and lip. Lev Efimovich Shargorodskiĭ

Dental Equipment and Materials by Shargordskiĭ

Lev Efimovich Shargorodskiĭ. Zuboproteznaia tekhnika i materialovedenie: rukovodstvo dlia vracheĭ-stomatologov i zubnykh tekhnikov [Dental Equipment and Materials: A Guide for Dentists and Dental Technicians]. Moscow: Meditsina, 1966.

xxWU 500 S531z 1966.


Fig. 6, Facial arteries. M. V. Mukhin. Handbook for Dental Technicians. 1971.

Handbook for Dental Technicians by Mukhin

M. V. Mukhin. Rukovodstvo dlia meditsinskikh sester, rabotaiushchikh v stomatologicheskikh lechebnykh uchrezhdeniiakh [Handbook for Dental Technicians]. Leningrad: Meditsina, 1971.

xxWU 90 M953 1971.

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