A century of influence: Part 2. The greatest generation

The story of orthodontics during the first 100 years of Journal publication can be told through the people who lived it. As part of the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics ‘ Centennial celebration, we present 100 people who most influenced the specialty during the last 100 years. Part 2 picks up with “the greatest generation” and describes those born in the first 2 decades of the 20th century. Whether born in Europe or the United States, their lives and educations were disrupted by world war. Many served during the years of conflict, and a few paid an even heavier price. After World War II, they returned home or immigrated to the United States and resumed their life’s work in orthodontics.


  • Orthodontists born 1900-1920 came of age during war, and many served their country.

  • They enjoyed broader access to graduate orthodontic programs at a few schools.

  • Graduates took what they learned to new programs at schools across the United States.

Herbert Israel Margolis (1900-1984) was born in Ukraine, Russia, at the turn of the century. He was just 3 years old when his father died and his mother brought him Boston, Massachusetts. He attended Harvard Dental School, and then studied with Dewey before returning to Harvard as a faculty member. Later, he taught at Tufts University and was the first chair of Boston University’s orthodontic department. His interest in cephalometrics, anatomy, and evolution led him to develop the Margolis cephalostat. He served as a voluntary consultant to the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare, providing free treatment to indigent children. Shapiro wrote that Margolis found that “no work was too challenging or too menial where the welfare of mankind was concerned.”

Impressed by Begg’s work with light wires, Harold D. Kesling (1901-1979) traveled to Australia to learn the Begg technique, and he became a principal proponent of it in the United States. Although he might be best remembered for the tooth-positioning appliance that bears his name and as a founder of TP Orthodontics in Denver, “Dr H. D.” did not confine himself to orthodontics alone. In 1977, he displayed his unique aerodynamic electric car, the YARE, at the Electric Vehicle Exposition in Chicago.

Silas Kloehn (1902-1985) practiced general dentistry in Appleton, Wisconsin, for a decade before moving to Chicago to study under Brodie at the University of Illinois. He returned to Appleton to practice orthodontics and to nurture a lifelong relationship with the Angle Society. He was a precise and thorough clinician and was especially interested in mixed dentition treatment. He developed a headgear appliance that could be worn with a cervical strap, a big improvement over the skullcaps or headcaps that had previously been required.

Jacob Amos Salzmann (1902-1992), or Jack, as he was known to nearly everyone, studied orthodontics in preceptorship arrangements with Martin Dewey and John Merson. Later, he enrolled in a graduate program in the School of Education at New York University. He was particularly interested in children’s dental and overall health, and he attended World Health Conferences for Children and Youth in 1940, 1950, and 1960. He edited the Reviews and Abstracts section of the Journal for more than 40 years.

B. F. “Tod” Dewel (1902-1992) was a humble man who was a member of several elite groups: he was 1 of the 7 founding member of the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Orthodontics, and 1 of 8 editors-in-chief of the Journal . His name is also associated with an award given each year by the Journal . The B. F. and Helen E. Dewel Award for Clinical Research recognizes the best clinical research article published in the AJO-DO during the previous year. The clinical aspects of orthodontics were always important to Dewel, who was said to achieve levels of clinical excellence enviable even by today’s standards.

Wilton M. Krogman (1903-1987) made a name for himself in law enforcement through his forensic work, and in orthodontics through his work in oral and facial development and growth. An anthropologist, he was made an honorary member of the American Association of Orthodontists, and he received the Ketcham Award in 1969.

Norwegian Kaare Reitan (1903-2000) was a man of wide interests and abilities. He studied music, art, and linguistics before he turned to dentistry in Paris in the 1920s. He studied orthodontics at Northwestern University in Chicago, earning an MSc degree in 1939. He returned to Norway where he introduced the edgewise technique, making Norwegian patients among the first in Europe to be treated.

Another European, Rudolf P. Hotz (1905-1979), was broadly educated in medicine and dentistry in Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden, and he published his research in German, French, Italian, Spanish, and English. He was particularly interested in a technique he called “guidance of eruption,” or removal of teeth to correct malocclusion. In 1964, he brought surgeons, orthodontists, and speech therapists together at the first International Symposium on Early Treatment of Cleft Lip and Palate.

Joseph Jarabak (1906-1989) was the son of Czechoslovakian immigrants and spoke Czech before he learned English. He studied electrical engineering at the University of Michigan and applied to dental school only as a backup. But he was accepted and, after graduating in 1930, established his general dental practice during the Great Depression. A decade later, he specialized in orthodontics and in 1952 was named chair of the new orthodontic department at Loyola University. In 1963, he published, with electrical engineer James Fizzell, the classic textbook, Technique and Treatment With the Light-Wire Appliance .

In December 1941, after practicing general dentistry for a decade and completing a preceptorship program, Earl E. Shepard (1908-1991) was finally able to enter orthodontic practice. One month later, he was called to active duty in the U.S. Army as a maxillofacial specialist in a medical unit. He was stationed in Algeria, where he treated General George S. Patton, and spent time in Italy and France. When he returned home, he was happy to resume private practice in St Louis and teaching at Washington University. He was known for his devotion to the American Board of Orthodontics; he served as secretary-treasurer from 1971 to 1977 and as executive director from 1977 to 1987.

Rolf Fränkel (1908-2001) studied dental medicine in Germany in the 1920s and began treating patients with Angle’s E-arch as early as 1928. He was drafted into German military service and worked as a surgeon treating jaw and facial injuries. After the war, he returned home to Zwickau in East Germany. Sealed off from Western research, he worked on his own and developed the function regulator, an appliance that corrects malocclusions by channeling growth. In 1975, the East German government awarded him a national prize for his contributions to the health of its citizens. But at the same time, he was under investigation for giving samples of his appliance to a visitor from the West. In 1995, a few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he received the Ketcham Award. He was a man of principle, perseverance, intellect, energy, and humor.

Fred F. Schudy (1908-2001) was born on a farm and became the first in his family to complete high school and attend college. He worked his way through Washington University’s dental school in St Louis, graduating first in his class. He practiced dentistry for 8 years; then, in 1940, he studied orthodontics at Columbia University. Interested in the growing field of cephalometrics, he took serial films of patients and, over time, observed that the vertical dimension was of critical importance to facial form and mandibular growth. He wrote 5 articles on the topic, including the classic “The rotation of the mandible resulting from growth: its implication in orthodontic treatment.”

Arthur B. Lewis (1909-1996) studied orthodontics at the University of Illinois and became an authority on human growth and development. He was active in the Angle Society and served as editor of the Angle Orthodontist for 28 years. He had a passion for fly-fishing and found a way to use his wire bending skills, tying logs together to give brown trout a sporting place to hide.

The name John R. Thompson (1910-2004) might be better known to readers of the Angle Orthodontist ; he published 8 research articles in the journal between 1938 and 1985, many having to do with function, a factor he considered much overlooked in orthodontics.

Arne Björk (1911-1996) was particularly interested in craniofacial growth. His doctoral dissertation for the Swedish Institute of Human Genetics (1947) showed that growth does not always proceed in a linear fashion. His name is often linked with that of Vibeke Skieller for the implant studies that they conducted to elucidate mandibular growth and rotation.

In 1936, after studying dentistry and orthodontics at the University of Michigan, Faustin Neff Weber (1911-1996) moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he chaired the first graduate orthodontic program in the south at the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences. He remained active as a teacher or consultant even after his retirement from a 60-year career in education. He always had a kind word.

After contributing a chapter to the first edition of Graber’s Orthodontics: Current Principles and Techniques , Brainerd F. Swain (1911-1999) became a coeditor. Graber said that he was “an indefatigable worker, a man of unimpeachable integrity who fights for principle,” and that he was “called ‘the Abraham Lincoln of Orthodontics’ by all of his colleagues.”

Egil Peter Harvold (1912-1992) studied medicine and dentistry in Norway and Germany, and practiced orthodontics in Oslo. He received a PhD degree in anatomy and was especially interested in the treatment of cleft palate and craniofacial anomalies. He treated patients or taught at institutions around the world: Oslo, Aarhus, Toronto, Michigan, San Francisco. He is credited with introducing functional appliance therapy to North American clinicians, and the Harvold analysis is useful for describing jaw disharmonies.

Bernard Sarnat (1912-2011) was born in Chicago in 1912 to parents only recently emigrated from Russia. He earned a medical degree from the University of Chicago and master of science and doctor of dental surgery degrees from the University of Illinois. A surgeon first and foremost, he was particularly interested in craniofacial development and the causes of deformities. He was one of the first researchers to use alizarin red S stain to study growth patterns in teeth and bones. He pioneered an early model for distance-education by setting up a telephone network to simultaneously broadcast a series of lectures on dental topics to 260 cities and more than 12,000 students.

After studying dentistry at Case Western Reserve University and orthodontics at the University of Illinois, Wendell L. Wylie (1913-1966) headed west to chair the Division of Orthodontics at the University of California. Later, he was named dean of the dental school. He was an ABO director, editor of the Angle Orthodontist for 5 years, an academician and a teacher, and above all “a man of wit, of charm, and of great fluency with the written and spoken word.”

Robert E. Gaylord (1914-2001) studied dentistry and orthodontics at Northwestern University in Illinois and then headed to the Southwest, where he was one of the first university-trained orthodontists in the region. In 1961, he began helping the Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas organize and raise funds for a graduate orthodontic program, and he maintained a relationship with the department, as a faculty member or chair, for over 35 years.

Hans Peter Bimler (1916-2003) began his dental career early in life, helping in his father’s dental practice in Germany. He attended medical school, but his studies were cut short by World War II, and he returned home to work once again with his father. They were taking x-rays of patients, and in 1939, he superimposed a facial photograph onto an x-ray and presented the resulting “roentgenphotogramm” at an orthodontic meeting in Wiesbaden, Germany. Called into military service, he worked in a medical unit for a time and then was held in a British prison camp. When the war ended, he was able to join his family, which had left Germany. His father had managed to take some of their research when he left, including the headplates; Bimler now had time to study them more thoroughly, and he developed the Bimler cephalometric analysis. He also continued working on a removable oral appliance that he was developing, an elastic oral adaptor that could be used to treat a patient from start to finish.

In 1939, when Coenraad F. A. Moorrees (1916-2003) received his dental degree from the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands, the prospect of furthering his education in Europe was uncertain. So he and his wife came to the United States. He studied dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania and then went to New York to begin a program at Eastman Dental Dispensary. But he was unable to escape the war, and in 1942 he was called to military duty by the Dutch government. He was taken prisoner and held for 3 years. He provided what treatment he could in the camp, but nearly died himself. After the war, he and his wife were reunited, and they returned to the United States. He resumed his studies of child growth and dental anthropology at the Forsyth Dental Infirmary in Boston and, in the late 1940s, joined an expedition from the Peabody Museum in Boston to the Aleutian Islands. There, he made plaster casts and collected data and observations on the dentitions of the indigenous population. His classic monograph, The Aleut Dentition, a Correlative Study of Dental Characteristics in an Eskimoid People , was published by Harvard University Press in 1957. He also studied longitudinal data on the dentitions of growing children and determined that children often pass through “abnormal” stages of growth before reaching the end of puberty with acceptable occlusions.

In 1948, Alton Wallace Moore (1916-2007), another graduate of Brodie’s program in Illinois, accepted the challenging position of chairman of the new orthodontic department at the University of Washington. For the next 32 years, he served the school in some capacity, including dean of the dental school. He was an administrator, a researcher, and most of all a teacher who inspired and motivated his students.

When the United States entered World War II, Samuel Weinstein (1916-2008) volunteered and was assigned to the Navy Dental Corps. For a time, he served on a ship stationed off the coast of Africa that held German prisoners of war. When a prisoner developed a toothache, Sam, who spoke German, agreed to see him. Reportedly, the prisoner asked whether Sam was German. “No,” Weinstein replied, “I am Jewish,” to which the prisoner replied in a hopeful manner, “Some of my best friends are Jewish.” After the war, Weinstein started an orthodontic practice in Omaha and was recruited to direct a new graduate orthodontic program at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Guided by a former teacher, Dr Harry Sicher, Weinstein designed a program that included anthropology, archaeology, pharmacology, and anatomy, as well as engineering and biomechanics. He spent 17 years at the University of Nebraska and another 10 at the University of Connecticut’s orthodontic department.

Anders Lundstrom (1916-2009) was inspired by his father, Axel, to study orthodontics. Like his father, he excelled. In his landmark 1948 dissertation, “Tooth size and occlusion in twins,” he studied genetic and nongenetic factors of tooth size, tooth spaces in the dental arches, dental occlusions, and jaw relationships, and concluded that hereditary factors play at least as important a role as do the environmental ones in tooth arrangement. Stockholm’s Institute of Dentistry made him a full-time professor of orthodontics, a position he held for 32 years. He served as dean during a crucial transition period, molding the school into the present Institute of Odontology at the Karolinska Institutet in Huddinge.

Tom Graber (1917-2007) studied orthodontics at Northwestern University’s dental school and received a PhD degree in craniofacial anomalies, growth, and development. But it was earlier, during his general dental training at Washington University’s School of Dental Medicine in St Louis, that he became a student editor of the school’s dental journal and took the first step on a path that he would travel the rest of his life. He was the editor or author of hundreds of books, book chapters, and journal articles, and in 1985 was chosen as the fifth editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Orthodontics , a position he held for 15 years. Like others of his generation, his studies were interrupted by the war. On December 8, 1941, 6 months after his wedding and 1 day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he enlisted; he worked as a medical plans and training officer—a job that allowed him to discover a love of teaching.

Paul Tessier (1917-2008) was born into a family of wine merchants in France. He considered pursuing several careers but chose medicine. He entered medical school in 1936 but in 1940 became a prisoner of war. He developed typhoid and was released, weak and ill, in 1941. He moved to Nantes in 1942 to resume his studies and narrowly missed death in the bombing raids that destroyed the city. He went to Paris and eventually was able to resume his studies. He traveled to England and learned from surgeons who were treating war injuries. He studied anatomy and synthesized findings from the plastic surgery, maxillofacial, ophthalmic, and neurosurgery specialties; he revolutionized the treatment of craniofacial birth defects, cancers of the orbit and skull base, and severe facial asymmetries; he is acknowledged by many as the father of craniofacial surgery.

After attending the University of Utah, Reed Holdaway (1917-2009) graduated with honors from the University of Southern California’s Dental College. He studied orthodontics with Roscoe Keedy in Colorado and then continued his learning, during his 40 years in practice, with the Utah Study Club. He never sought attention but quietly and gradually established a reputation for uncommon proficiency and excellence. His classic article reporting the importance of including soft-tissue analysis treatment planning was published in 2 parts in the Journal in 1983 and 1984.

Like so many others of his generation, the orthodontic career of Robert Edison Moyers (1919-1996) was disrupted by World War II. His military service was exceptional: he parachuted behind enemy lines in Greece to serve as an officer in the Office of Strategic Services and became the most highly decorated dental officer to serve in World War II. After the war, he returned to school, earning a PhD degree from the University of Iowa in 1949. He became the founding chair of the University of Toronto’s orthodontic department, the first in Canada, and later moved to the University of Michigan. His clinical research provided a better understanding of the role of the neuromusculature in normal facial growth and during treatment.

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Apr 6, 2017 | Posted by in Orthodontics | Comments Off on A century of influence: Part 2. The greatest generation
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