January 1, 1915, revisited

It is a chilly overcast day in St Louis, much like it was 100 years ago today. I am standing near the corner of Grand Avenue and Olive Street, looking east toward the Mississippi River. In that direction, if not for the building across the street blocking the view, I would be able to see many places that are important to the history of orthodontics. When he first came to town in November of 1895, Edward H. Angle stayed in a boarding house to the east, and later he conducted a practice on North Garrison, only a few blocks away.

To my right, about 10 blocks south on Grand, was Marion-Sims College of Medicine, where Angle was a faculty member in the dental department. The building where he taught is gone. Marion-Sims was replaced by the School of Medicine of Saint Louis University, and a new building was constructed. Angle taught at Marion-Sims until he started his own school in 1900.

To my left, north up Grand, only 6 blocks away, is the Olivia Building. Yes, it is still there. Down a side street but on the same city block, it is believed that a duplex Angle shared with Anna Hopkins and Richard Summa also remains; it is within sight of Angle’s office and an easy short walk away. The Olivia Building is a small but adequate 2-story building where Angle conducted his practice; it is the site of the first-ever School of Orthodontics, which opened in 1900. Later, he held some lectures at the Odeon Theatre across the street but still did demonstrations in his office in the Olivia Building. He also held lectures at the Ethical Society of St Louis and paid $150 to rent 3 rooms for the year. The Odeon and the Ethical Society buildings are long since gone.

Directly behind me and a few feet away to the west is a building that vaguely resembles a retro-style drug store, and that is what it used to be. Before that, the Beers Hotel occupied that spot. The Beers was a glorious hotel in many ways. In addition to all the usual amenities, the Beers was the first hotel in St Louis to have electricity; installation occurred just before Angle came to town in 1895. He stayed there for a little while until he moved to the boarding house. Moreover, the water at the hotel was considered fit to drink; this was a major issue in St Louis at the time (Mark Twain is often quoted as saying that the water in St Louis was “too thick to drink but too thin to plow”). The Beers also had several fine places to eat and was very popular in that regard, since it was on the edge of town (at that time) near a relatively young Saint Louis University and in close proximity to buildings where many professional people maintained their offices.

One of those professional buildings is directly across the street from me to the east. It is 8 stories tall, and today it is called the Metropolitan Artist Lofts, but 100 years ago it was simply called the Metropolitan Building, and it was one of the 2 major professional buildings in the area. Physicians, dentists, lawyers, and others conducted their businesses there. Notable to this accounting, on the top floor of the Metropolitan Building were located the offices of Dr Carl Virgil Mosby. He was a physician but had little enthusiasm for practicing medicine. Instead, he was most interested in selling medical and dental books and publishing periodicals using the company name “C. V. Mosby.” As part of his activities, he would visit physicians and dentists in the area, selling his wares but also looking for opportunities. Through this activity, he had become acquainted with and was an admirer of Angle.

In 1914, Mosby had an opportunity to hear a speech by Dr Charles Mayo (namesake of the future Mayo Clinic) at a meeting of the American Medical Association that mentioned the need for, and the value of, orthodontic treatment. Subsequently, Mosby set about investigating opportunities for a journal dedicated to orthodontics. Mosby obtained advice from others and decided to pursue the idea. So encouraged, Mosby met with Harvey Carlyle Pollock at the Beers Hotel for lunch in the public dining room; over ham sandwiches and coffee, the decision was made to initiate a journal for orthodontics. Because of his respect for Angle, Mosby wrote to him and offered him the job of editor, but for unexplained reasons Angle did not respond. Subsequently, Martin Dewey was invited to be the editor, and he accepted the job.

So, in January 1915, a Miehle press clanked and clicked and produced the first issue of the International Journal of Orthodontia . It could be purchased for 30 cents (approximately equivalent to a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk in 1915) or $3.00 for the year. Circulation was small; at the time, there were 91 members of the American Society of Orthodontics. Still, 100 years ago, the first issue was mailed with a 2-cent stamp affixed, beginning an unrivaled history.

What was to come over the next 100 years? The answer, in short, is “much.” In this first century of the Journal , well over 100,000 pages of information have been produced that also contain over 60,000 images (photographs, figures, charts, graphs, and so on). A tremendous amount of observation, discovery, knowledge, wisdom, advice, progress, and experience has been shared and stored in your Journal . It is a fitting circumstance to celebrate the Journal for all that it has done to advance the specialty over its 100-year history.

Thus, in the pages of the AJO-DO during this entire year, we will share with you pieces of our past, comments on our present state, and a view of the uncertainties and excitement of the future. This activity will take the form of guest editorials, special articles, tributes to people who have greatly influenced our specialty, and a few other special items and surprises.

One example is shown in the Figure : it is an advertisement for Listerine that appeared inside the front cover at the top of the page in issue 1, number 1, in 1915 and thus was the first ad to appear in the Journal . Notably, Listerine was the first over-the-counter mouthwash in the United States, beginning in 1915. At the time, J. W. Lambert was promoting Listerine for a variety of uses, but he might have had more than a passing interest in orthodonia: his children were treated by Angle in St Louis. You will see other nostalgic advertisements scattered throughout the issues in 2015—some from companies that came and went, and others that continue today. We are sharing these ads because they help not only to document our history, but also to demonstrate respect for the contributions that have been made by our partners in the orthodontic industry.

Apr 6, 2017 | Posted by in Orthodontics | Comments Off on January 1, 1915, revisited
Premium Wordpress Themes by UFO Themes