The Henry J. McKellops Collection in Dental Medicine

A copperplate shows different sets of mineral paste teeth and how to fix them, from Nicolas Dubois de Chémant’s A dissertation on artificial teeth: evincing the advantages of teeth made of mineral paste, over every denomination of animal substance to which is added the advice to mothers and nurses, on the prevention and cure of those diseases which attend the first dentition. London: Printed by John Haines, 1816.

The Henry J. McKellops Collection in Dental Medicine covers the history of dentistry from the early modern period to the 19th century.  The collection is the legacy of Henry J. McKellops, who in addition to holding the presidency of both the American Dental Association and the Southern Dental Association, was in many ways a dental innovator.  He began to use mallets in dentistry before the Odontological Society of London did, advocated for the use of nitrous oxide as an anesthetic instead of ether and chloroform, and wrote several monographs on orthodontics.  He acquired his collection of dental books during his travels in Europe, sometimes with the help of various book agents.  Upon his death in 1901, Adolphus Busch acquired the collection and donated it to Washington University, where it became a part of the School of Dentistry’s library in 1912.   It remained there until the School’s closure in 1991, when it was transferred to the Bernard Becker Medical Library.

The collection includes several notable monographs such as Zene Artzney, the first work dedicated to western dental practices, Chapin A. Harris’ The dental art: a practical treatise on dental surgery, and Anselm Louis Bernard Bérchilliet Jourdain’s Traité des maladies, which was the first specialist book on oral surgery.

If you would like more information about the collection, please visit the digital exhibit Rare Books at Becker.