Lincoln's Dentist

Lincoln's Dentist (HMWS8)

Location: Springfield, IL 62701 Sangamon County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 48.033', W 89° 38.93'

  • 0 likes
  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
  • 215 views
Inscription
Americans had poor oral hygiene in Lincoln's era.
Rotten teeth and foul breath were common (halitosis was not yet a social evil). Calomel frequently prescribed by doctors for fevers caused many people to have loose teeth. Dentistry was plagued by ignorance and quackery. Barbers were the usual practitioners of tooth extraction, wielding the dreaded "turn-key" (pictured below) used to twist out stubborn teeth. Various craftsmen tinkered at creating dentures, including carved ivory, metal plates that occasionally featured old sheep;s teeth, or even hickory plugs soaked in creosote. After Dr. Amos W. French arrived from New York in 1848, he soon acquired a reputation as one of the best "mechanical dentists" in the West. He was also a book collector; his upper-floor office looked more like a library than a dentist's office. He and Lincoln studied German together—-but Lincoln kept the class in turmoil with his storytelling. After the Civil War, French participated in the scientific revolution that transformed the dental profession.

Lincoln had a bad experience with a dentist before Dr. French arrived. In an 1841 letter, he wrote about having a painful tooth extracted: "I had it torn out, bringing with it a bit of the jawbone; the consequence of which is that my mouth is now so sore that I can neither talk, nor eat." An 1843 store account shows that Lincoln bought a toothbrush. Perhaps this reflects Mary's refining influence. As president, he took precautions when visiting the dentist, for he reportedly took along a small bottle of chloroform to help deaden the pain of having a tooth pulled. When the doctor approached with forceps, Lincoln surprised him by administering the analgesic to himself before proceeding. The practice of analgesia in dentistry was not common at the time.

Details
HM NumberHMWS8
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Tags
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at 6:07am PDT -07:00
Pictures
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 273225 N 4408977
Decimal Degrees39.80055000, -89.64883333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 48.033', W 89° 38.93'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 48' 1.98" N, 89° 38' 55.80" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1-99 E Adams St, Springfield IL 62701, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. What historical period does the marker represent?
  2. What historical place does the marker represent?
  3. What type of marker is it?
  4. What class is the marker?
  5. What style is the marker?
  6. Does the marker have a number?
  7. What year was the marker erected?
  8. Who or what organization placed the marker?
  9. This marker needs at least one picture.
  10. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  11. Is the marker in the median?