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G.V. Black Collection of Manuscripts, Correspondence, and Photographs

Identifier: ghsl-1

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Northwestern University G.V. Black digitized collection contains 43 manuscripts, 100 letters and several photographs covering the period between 1867 and 1915. Some of the more important items in the collection are: correspondence between Dr. Black and Dr. Frederick S. McKay from the turn of the century that focus on mottled enamel of teeth and early hypotheses on water and fluoridation; correspondence, program announcements and other memorabilia from the World Dental Congress held in conjunction with the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893; a manuscript on zoo chemistry.


  • 1867-1915



Onsite access to the collection is open to researchers during posted library hours without restriction. For the digitized items in this collection, Public Domain Mark 1.0 applies, as they have been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Greene Vardiman Black (1836-1915), the acknowledged father of modern dentistry, was born in Winchester, Illinois. His work and contributions to dentistry were all based in Illinois. His career included dental practices in Winchester and Jacksonville, Illinois. Dr. Black taught at several dental schools in the area, and served as the second dean of the Northwestern University Dental School, which became know as the largest and most outstanding institution of its kind under his administration.

Dr. Black contributed to the advancement of dental science by standardizing operative procedures and providing uniformity in the manufacture of amalgam, cavity preparation and dental terminology. His development of dental amalgams, over 150 years ago, set the standards for formulae, clinical use and techniques. He provided the first dental identification and categorization of dental procedures to restore diseased or injured teeth. Among his dental inventions were the foot-powered drill engine and the gnathodynamometer for measuring bite force.


6 Boxes

Language of Materials



This digitized collection includes: manuscripts on general subjects; correspondence between G.V. Black and Dr. Frederick S. McKay on mottled teeth; photographs; correspondence and other memorabilia from the 1893 World Dental Congress held in conjunction with the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.

Arrangement of Materials

The collection is organized into four series: (I) Manuscripts on general subjects; (II) Correspondence between G.V. Black and F.S. McKay on mottled enamel of teeth; (III) Documents, correspondence, memorabilia, and a photograph relating to the World's Columbian Dental Congress, Chicago, Illinois, 1893; (IV) Photographs.

Guide to the Digitized Collection of G.V. Black Manuscripts, Correspondence and Photographs
Tony Olson. Updated by Katie Lattal, December 2022.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Galter Health Sciences Library & Learning Center Repository

320 E. Superior Ave.
Chicago IL 60611-3008 US