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Who was the First Woman Orthodontist?

ON JUNE 11, 1901 Dr. Edward Hartley Angle, the Father of Orthodontics, convened a three day meeting in St. Louis to start what was to be called the American Society of Orthodontists. We would call this day, the birthday of modern day orthodontists.

The Story Of The First Female Orthodontist

At this meeting, only one licensed female dentist was present. That woman was Dr. Gertrude C. Locke of Nashua, New Hampshire. Dr. Gertrude C. Locke is therefore the first woman orthodontist.

Although Anna Hopkins Angle, often called “The First Lady of Orthodontics” was present at this landmark meeting. Anna Hopkins was not yet a dentist. Anna had begun working as Dr. Angle’s secretary in 1892 and assisted him enormously with his writings. She graduated dental school at the University of Iowa in 1902 with a DDS degree. She continued to be the secretary of Dr. Angle’s Society from 1902 to 1905. She married Dr. Angle in 1906 in Niagra Falls, New York.

There is no record that either Dr. Locke or Dr. Hopkins-Angle graduated from the Angle School of Orthodontics. Here is a 1905 record of a third woman, Jane G. Bunker, who appears to be the first female graduate of the Angle School of Orthodontics. She graduated from the Angle School of Orthodontia in 1904.

Today to become a dental specialist orthodontist, a dentist must attend an additional two to three university graduate residency program after completing dental school. Fifty percent of orthodontic graduates nationwide are female and some residency programs have had an all female class.

As the orthodontic specialty continues to evolve, it’s nice to know that Dr. Gertrude C. Locke was there from the start.

Dr. Ann Marie Gorczyca
Gorczyca Orthodontics
Antioch, CA


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