Have you ever wanted something so badly that you kept trying to get it? Have you been turned down repeatedly?

Let’s talk about Lucy Hobbs Taylor!

Early Life

This was the case of Lucy Hobbs Taylor. She was born on March 14, 1833, and a native of Constable, New York. As she struggled to live with her 9 siblings, Lucy got a job as a seamstress at 12 to support her family. She juggled helping her family and attending school at Franklin Academy. After graduating, Lucy moved to Michigan and began teaching. She went on doing that for ten years. However, in 1859, Lucy had a change of heart.

Route of Rejection

She moved to Cincinnati and applied to Eclectic Medical School, where she was denied acceptance. Why? Unqualified? Unprepared? No, it was one single detail that got her rejected; her gender. Fortunately, this didn’t stop Lucy. After this, she went on to gain knowledge from a professor who agreed to tutor her. The professor recommended she apply to dental school, hoping for a better chance. Lucy took that advice and applied to Ohio College of Dentistry. Was she lucky this time? Would she get in? No. She did not. Unfortunately, Lucy was denied acceptance AGAIN because she was a woman.

Even as a woman

Luckily, a college graduate decided to help by tutoring her, and her studies in dentistry continued. In 1861, she opened her practice after giving up on college due to fear of being denied once again. After a year, she opened her dental practice in Iowa. Then, even without a diploma, Lucy was accepted into society as a dentist and became a member of ISDS ( Iowa State Dental Society). Additionally, Lucy was sent as a representative to the American dental association. In 1866, she was finally accepted into the Ohio College of Dental Surgery as a senior and the following year, she earned her doctorate. Lucy was the first woman to graduate from a dental college. Marking the beginning of a new era.

Her Legacy

Lucy moved to Chicago and met her husband, James M. Taylor. After getting married, Lucy convinced her husband to join dentistry. They moved to Kansas and owned a large and successful practice. After James died, Lucy refrained from dentistry and became an activist for women’s rights and did so until she passed in October 1910. Since then, Lucy’s life has been an inspiration to many women, including myself. Thankfully, times have changed, and society now has women present in all types of professions. However, we can’t forget the women who started this era of change. Lucy opened a pathway for many other women. In 1900, about a thousand women went into dentistry with Lucy as an inspiration and role model. Even though she had constant rejections, she found a way despite having many opportunities to give up.

“Making it possible for women to be recognized in the dental profession on equal terms with men.”- Lucy Hobbs Taylor

Wikimedia Foundation. (2023, January 24). Lucy Hobbs Taylor. Wikipedia. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_Hobbs_Taylor#cite_note-9

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