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Tue, 02.01.1859

Charles E. Bentley born

Charles Edwin Bentley

*Charles Edwin Bentley was born on this date in 1859.  He was an African American dentist and civil right activist.  

Bentley was born and educated in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1887 he earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Chicago College of Dental Surgery.  In 1888, he founded of what grew to be the largest local dental society in the world, the Odontographic Society and he was its first president.   In February 1903 the Odontographic Society gave its famous clinic with three thousand members of the profession and nearly one thousand dental students in attendance.

In 1898, Bentley married Florence Lewis, who was for some years the literary editor of the Philadelphia Press.  The Odontographical Society was merged into the Chicago Dental Society in 1911, and Bentley was a part of the merger committee. At the suggestion of Dr. Bentley, the Odontographic Society instituted an investigation into the condition of the mouths and teeth of the children of the schools. One year later Dr. Bentley submitted this report, and the same was published in the Dental Review of 1900. This report was the basis of future work along this line.  

Bentley published extensively. Two of his most important papers were "The Application of Comparative Anatomy to Dentistry” and “Contact Points of the Medical and Dental Profession".  Bentley was chairman of the Child Welfare Exhibit on Dentistry. He long served as the secretary of Provident Hospital. He was the first president of the Equal Opportunity League of Chicago. He was a charter member of the Niagara Movement, and of the directory of the NAACP.  Charles Edwin Bentley died on October 13, 1929.  


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