About the AADE


Report by Dr. Norman Becker
Revere, MA

Dentistry developed as a profession when practitioners started to share their knowledge either by demonstration or the spoken or written word. This beginning of professional literature became the route through which problems, as well as solutions, were studied and expanded. Within a short period of time, manufacturers of dental products realized that these journals could be a source for the promotion of their products. These supply houses solicited stories and articles, which in essence promoted their products.

As the number of journals increased, clinicians began to think that these commercial journals were often self-serving and that better control of operative measures as well as a need for expanded knowledge of the sciences were needed. Not only did this lead to the establishment of dental schools, but also to many more scientifically oriented literature.

In 1746, Pierre Fauchard wrote his “Le Chirurgian Dentiste”. Although written in French, this book became the guide to modern dentistry. “Curious Observations on the Teeth” by Charles Allen, written in English, awakened readers to the need for further study and scientific evaluations. Between the appearance of these classic books, many articles and periodicals were written by a handful of practitioners.

Prior to, as well as during this era, no organized program existed. The dentists fell within one of three categories:

1. Physician-Dentist - These had medical training and experience and devoted part of their time to dental care.

2. Surgeon-Dentist – These were trained under a preceptorship program.

3. Mechanical Dentist – These had some background in metals, usually from jewelry manufacture, and thus, were the “prosthodontists” of that era.

During these years dentists were organizing into groups such as The Society of Surgeon-Dentists of the City and State of New York in 1834. The Dental Association of Western New York in 1836-1837; and, In 1840, The American Society of Dental Surgeons, considered by many as the predecessor of The American Dental Association.

In addition, the first journals were established. Among the twenty-six or more journals there emerged the American Journal of Dental Science, which is thought to be precursor of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

By 1926, dental schools had overhauled curricula, teaching methods, and research to the point that ethical and professional concepts for professional journals were perceived.

At the time of the Annual Meeting of the American Dental Association in 1928, President Dr. Henry L. Benzhaff of the American College of Dentists made statements and recommendations, which produced a series of resolutions. This was done during Dr. Benzhaff’s presidential address before the Convocation of the College. The adoption of these resolutions resulted in the formation of a committee known as a Commission on Dental Journalism whose instructions were:

“ . . . To survey the present situation in dental journalism and report to the college within one year with respect to:

A. The total amount of dental literature per annum.

B. The proportion of that literature published in periodicals not under the auspices or control of the dental profession.

C. Measures which may be effective in terminating the non-professional publication of dental of dental literature.

D. Measures which may be undertaken to develop a journalism having capacity sufficient to publish all the worthwhile contemporary dental literature.”

The Commission went at the task with enthusiasm and thoroughness and when in 1932 the final report was published, it consisted of 238 pages including the bibliography as well as abstracts of meeting notes.

The outcome of this report was the formation of the American Association of Dental Editors in Memphis, Tennessee in 1931. Incorporators William J. Gies, John E. Gurley, John T. O’Rourke, Bissell B. Palmer, and Robert S. Vinsant agreed to act as temporary Board of Directors, none of whom would accept re-appointment as directors at the first meeting. Twenty-one publication members and one member-at-large were elected to active membership at this incorporation meeting.

The first meeting was held on January 18, 1932 at The Stevens Hotel in Chicago, with Dr. Robert S. Vinsant as temporary President. The minutes of the meeting sums the history leading to this historic meeting.

“Dr. Bissell B. Palmer of New York City as Chairman of the Commission on Journalism opened the meeting and appointed Dr. J. T. O’Rourke of Louisville, as Secretary pro-tem. Dr. Palmer outlined the history of the movement to organize the editors of the non-proprietary periodicals. He stated that the Commission on Journalism had recommended at the July 1930 Convocation of the American College of Dentists, in Denver, that an organization of the editors of non-proprietary dental periodicals be formed and that at the next meeting the purposes of the organization were, broadly, to advance the cause of non-proprietary dental journalism and to make it practicable for the editors of these journals to cooperate with each other for the benefit of all concerned. He stated that the Commission on Journalism was acting purely as the initiating body in forming the American Association of Dental Editors and that upon completion of the work of organizing this meeting, the Commission on Journalism would cease to have any relationship with the Association.

Dr. Palmer then read the minutes of the procedures of the Incorporation of the American Association of Dental Editors from October 20, 1931 up to the time of this meeting, as follows:

The American College of Dentists, during the recent Memphis meeting authorized its Commission on Journalism to organize the editors of the non-proprietary dental periodicals.

On October 19, 1931 action for their colleagues in the American College of Dentists, the following named Fellows of the College, applied for papers of incorporation for the American Association of Dental Editors.

William J. Gies, Editor of the Journal of Dental Research

John E. Gurley, Editor of the Journal of the California State Dental Association

John T. O’Rourke, Editor of the Bulletin of the Kentucky State Dental Association

Bissell B. Palmer, Secretary-Editor of the New York Section of the International Association for Dental Research

Robert S. Vinsant, Editor-Secretary of the American Association of Dental Schools

On October 10, 1931 the State of Tennessee granted the application.”

Following the incorporation meeting, the Association has met regularly each year with the exception of the World War II years, 1942-1946 inclusive. Even then, a business meeting was held at the time of the House of Delegate of the American Dental Association.

The first general meeting, presided over by Dr. Palmer, was held in Chicago on January 12 and 13, 1932. Elmer A. Thomas of Nebraska was elected President as well as other officers and committee structures were established.

The second general meeting (the first annual meeting) was held in Buffalo at which time the first President gave the first presidential address. Dr. Thomas served as President for this meeting as well, thus serving as presiding officer at the second and third annual meetings, and thus delivered two presidential addresses.

Dr. William R. Davis of Michigan succeeded him. The following are all the AADE Presidents:

1931-1932 Robert A. Vinsant 1971-1972 John E. Gilster
1932-1934 Elmer A. Thomas 1972-1973 Franklin M. Kenward
1934-1935 William R. Davis 1973-1974 T. Wayne Lanier
1935-1936 John E. Gurley 1974-1975 Clifton O. Dummett
1936-1937 William J. Gies 1975-1976 George W. Burke, Jr.
1937-1938 C.N. Johnson 1976-1977 Rolin E. Motley
1938-1939 Walter Hyde 1977-1978 Harold F. Klein
1939-1940 T.F. McBride 1978-1979 Wilma E. Motley
1940-1941 Harold J. Noyes 1979-1980 H. William Gilmore
1941-1942 Grace R. Spalding 1980-1981 Robert E. Doerr
1942-1943 B.E. Lischer 1981-1982 Bernard Gordon
1943-1944 J.M. Donovan 1982-1983 Grant Maclean
1944-1945 Charles F. Harper 1983-1984 Roy Reger
1945-1946 Thomas D. Speidel 1984-1985 Barbara Sims
1946-1947 E.F. Inskipp 1985-1986 Robert L. Smith
1947-1948 Maynard K. Hine 1986-1987 Mel Holland
1948-1949 William P. Schoen 1987-1988 Trudy Feigum
1949-1950 Dorothea F. Radusch 1988-1989 Earl Mabry
1959-1951 Loren B. Taber 1989-1990 William Wathen
1951-1952 Walter McBride 1990-1991 Norman Becker
1952-1953 W.W. MacQueen 1991-1992 Elizabeth Ward
1953-1954 Ralph Rosen 1992-1993 Jack F. Conley
1954-1955 L. Franklin Baumgardner 1993-1994 Tope Maxson
1955-1956 Wesley J. Dunn 1994-1995 Bertram Dannheisser
1956-1957 Harry Wilson 1995-1996 William W. Howard
1957-1958 Flolyd D. Ostrander 1996-1997 Howard Mark
1958-1959 Morris J. Wilson 1997-1998 Judith McFadden
1969-1960 Lon W. Morrey 1998-1999 James Fratzke
1960-1961 Belle Fielder 1999-2000 Andy Brown
1961-1962 J.C.A. Harding 2000-2001 Claudia Kanter
1962-1963 Sidney Epstein 2001-2002 Richard Galeone
1963-1964 L.W. Bimestfer 2002-2003 Eric Curtis
1964-1965 Thomas H. Armstrong 2003-2004 Dennis Engel
1965-1966 Elmer Ebert 2004-2005 Harriet Seldin
1966-1967 Robert I. Kaplan 2005-2006 Howard Bookman
1967-1968 Frank H. Compton 2006-2007 John O'Keefe
1968-1969 Claude V. Pettey, Jr. 2007-2008 Michael Maihofer
1969-1970 William A. Elasser 2008-2009 Patty Reyes
1970-1971 J.D. Whisenand

Prior to 1988-1989, the AADE was held together by ADA staff members of the Council on Journalism and of the Division of Communications such as Velma Childs, Christine Nolan, Ginny Thiersch and Michelle Bresler. Scott McDonald was the Executive Director for a short period until Joanna Carey was hired as Executive Director in 1988. The AADE office was located in the ADA building in downtown Chicago until it moved to Oak Park, Illinois in 1992.

When Ms. Carey passed away in 1998, Detlef B. Moore became the Executive Director. The AADE office moved from Oak Park, Illinois to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1999.

During the years of operation of the AADE, the ADA Councils of Communication and Journalism have been active in their support of the organization. Journalism conferences and editors seminars were organized and supported by ADA staff. Journalism schools such as San Diego University, Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana University and Northwestern became faculty for these seminars. Economic considerations resulting from lowered ADA financial help forced the reorganization of these seminars in the 1990s into more economically viable ventures. The AADE is now supporting some of these courses on a less regular basis with the financial support of such outside groups as the Pierre Fauchard Academy.

The awards offered by the GIES Foundation and the International College of Dentistry are designed to stimulate editorial improvement. The ADA Conference for new and seasoned Dental Editors under the direction of Robert Saigh have been of great value to the membership of AADE. This conference is held during the Chicago Mid-Winter dental meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

Thanks are in order for those who have helped gather the materials for this report. Perhaps we should have followed the advice of David Austin. After watching the History Channel along with American Classic Movies and checking the web, I suggest that we make up the History of the AADE. I mean who would know? Doc Holiday could be the founder. We could certainly make it interesting.

However, the Archivists / Reference Library Services of the ADA, Robert G. Saigh, Trudy Feigum, Bernard Gordon, Earl Mabry provided clues to help in this research. Such sources as reports of ADA Council of Communications, ADA Councils of Journalism, Newsletters, the vertical files of the ADA Library, and personal communications have helped to gather some of the data presented. There are some facts still missing, such as the incomplete listing of the presidents, but, perhaps, this report will help to refresh some memories. Thanks are also due to Dr. David Becker and Detlef B. Moore for editorial advice and aid.

American Association of Dental Editors & Journalists (AADEJ)
750 N Lincoln Memorial Dr., #422
Milwaukee, WI 53202
414.272.2759 Fax: 414.272.2754