Papers of Basil G. Bibby


Dr. Basil G. Bibby. Fabian Bachrach, PhotographerBasil G. Bibby, DDS (1904-1998) was Director of the Eastman Dental Center (EDC) from 1947 to 1970. As a result of his guidance, the Eastman Dental Center, originally chartered to provide dental care for children and the undeserved in the Rochester, New York community, is world renowned for its dental research and education.

Bibby was a pioneer in dental research. His studies of dental caries gave the global dental profession valuable insight into the relationship between bacteria and dental caries, the effect of fluorides on dental caries, and the influence of food upon dental caries. During Bibby’s tenure, Eastman developed graduate programs in periodontics, pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, prosthodontics and general dentistry.

Bibby was also a champion for libraries, and at both Tufts and Eastman he worked to help establish libraries for dental research. When Eastman Dental relocated to Elmwood Avenue, an anonymous donation funded the new library – upon condition that it be named after Bibby. Bibby was involved with libraries at the national level as well. In 1957, at the inception of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), President Eisenhower appointed him a member of NLM’s Board of Regents.

Dr. Bibby’s papers were transferred to Eastman Dental library upon his death in 1998. Library staff carefully sorted, organized and preserved these materials.

Biographical Data

Basil Bibby was born in 1904 in Waipawa, New Zealand to parents James Woodhouse Bibby and Mary Tod Bibby. In 1927, Bibby graduated with a dental degree from the University of Otago, New Zealand. He came to Rochester, NY in 1930 as a Rockefeller Dental Fellow at the University of Rochester (UR), and in 1933, he married Beatrice Boardman. In 1936, after earning his PhD in Bacteriology, he became an assistant professor of dentistry at the University. Bibby left the University in 1938 to earn his D.M.D. at Tufts College Dental School. After receiving his degree he was appointed Dean of the Dental School, a role he filled for the next seven years. In 1947, Bibby returned to Rochester and assumed the role of Director of the Eastman Dental Center.

Over his lifetime, Basil Bibby published over 225 scientific articles. His contemporaries and associates at the University of Rochester included Drs. Frank Smith and Michael Buonocore. Bibby was well known for mentoring new researchers, and as director he was instrumental in establishing a graduate research program at EDC, a program which continues to this day.

Eastman Dental Center celebrated Bibby’s 90th birthday with a tribute dinner and conference. When Bibby died on February 4, 1998, he was 93 years old. Upon his death, the Bibby family, together with EDC, established a dental research fellowship in Bibby’s name.

Many awards were bestowed on Bibby for his contributions to dental research, including:

  • Dr. Bibby with Dr. Reichtom K Jenneud. August 15, 1952.  1969: Doctor of Science (Hon), University of Otago, New Zealand
  • 1978: Dental Caries Research Award from the International Association for Dental Research.
  • 1979: Doctor of Science (Hon), University of Rochester
  • 1979: Fauchard Medal, Pierre Fauchard Academy
  • 1988: Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research, American Dental Association

Recommended Sources for Additional Research on Bibby

Brayer, Elizabeth. Leading the Way: Eastman and Oral Health. Meliora Press: Rochester 2009.

Conference on the future direction of dental postgraduate education. Rochester, New York, October 13-15, 1994. A tribute to

Basil G. Bibby on his 90th birthday. (1995). Journal of Dental Education, 59(5), 546-607.

Glaser, J. E. (1989). Further reflections. Journal of the American Dental Association (1939), 118(5), 524.

Handelman, S., & Zero, D. T. (1997). Dr. Basil Bibby: Early fluoride investigator and intellectual provocateur. Journal of Dental Research, 76(10), 1621-1624.

Millstein, Charles B. The Impact of Research on the Tufts College Dental School: From Dean Marjerison to Dean Marshall-Day (1933-1958).

Reflections on a distinguished career: Dr. Basil Bibby: 1988 ADA gold medal award winner. (1988). Journal of the American Dental Association (1939), 117(5), 571-575.


Boxes 22 and 22A are part part of a larger collection of materials in the Eastman Dental Archives documenting the history of dentistry in the greater Rochester area, as well as the history of Eastman Dental.
Note: Bibby’s reports as director of Eastman are filed in Boxes 9 and 9a of the Eastman Dental archive collection.

Box 22: Directors – Biographical with Photographs - Bibby I

  • Folder 1: Bibby, Basil G. (1947-1970) I
  • Folder 2: Bibby, Basil G. (1947-1970) II
  • Folder 3: Bibby, Basil G. (1947-1970) III
  • Folder 4: Tufts

Box 22A: Directors – Biographical with Photographs - Bibby II

  • Folder 5:              Bibby, Basil G. EDC Director – Photographs – informal
  • Folder 6:              Bibby, Basil G. EDC Director – Photograph – formal
  • Folder 7:              Letters & Personal Writing
  • Folder 8:              Manuscripts
  • Folder 9:              St Apollonia
  • Folder 10:            ADA 1988 Gold Medal
  • Folder 11:            Correspondence with Beatrice
  • Folder 12:            Bibby, Beatrice
  • Folder 13:            Bibby Family
  • Folder 14:            News Clippings

Dr. Bibby conducting research in the laboratory with colleague, Dr. Weiss.

Casual photograph of Bibby in the office, he is seated and smiling.

Wipple and Bibby


Bibby in the classroom at Eastman Dental.


Bibby conducting research in dental laboratory with colleague, Dr. Weiss. Bibby was an avid researcher. Basil G. Bibby in the office, a humorous moment.

Above: Whipple & Bibby.

Below: Bibby in the classroom at Eastman.

Bibby in the midst of a class lecture to dental interns.

1955. Eastman Dental interns and fellow staff in group photograph. Bibby is in middle row, seventh from the left.

Basil Bibby and Domenick Zero at Bibby's 90th Birthday Tribute.


Bibby in the midst of a class lecture to dental interns. 1955-56. Eastman Dental interns & fellow staff. Bibby is in the middle row, 7th from left. Bibby and Dr. Domenick Zero at the 90th Birthday Tribute Dinner for Bibby.

Organization of the Collection

Box 22
Folder 1: Contains Bibby’s curriculum vitae and correspondence, speech scripts, press releases and other documents pertaining to his awards in dentistry.

Folder 2: Documents on the development of ties with the University of Rochester and the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the growth of postgraduate clinical and research programs at Eastman.

Folder 3: Contains materials covering later years at Eastman, official correspondence on Bibby’s retirement, items from his 90th birthday tribute, and postmortem obituaries, acknowledgements, and condolence letters.

Folder 4: Materials related to Tufts University. Bibby served as Dean of Tufts College Dental School from 1940-1947 as well as a professor of bacteriology. Contains Bibby’s speeches for graduating classes at Tufts.

Box 22A
Folder 5: Informal photographs. These photographs depict Bibby conducting research, working in the library, relaxing, receiving his 1979 UR honorary degree, attending his 90th birthday tribute dinner and other informal moments in his life.

Folder 6: Formal portraits. Photographs and some negatives. Includes portrait by Fabian Bachrach used for press releases and publications.

Folder 7: Letters & Personal Writings. Some poems written by Bibby, and letters between friends.

Folder 8: Manuscripts. Includes a history of Eastman Dental & biographical statement on the life of Dr. Joseph Volker.

Folder 9: Manuscript: St Apollonia. In this piece, Bibby examines historic art illustrations of St Apollonia and tells the history of the patron saint of dentistry. Four color prints with facing descriptions.

Folder 10: ADA 1988 Gold Medal. Congratulatory letters from colleagues & friends.

Folder 11: Correspondence with Beatrice. Letters to Beatrice during his travels abroad. From Havana, Buenos Aires, Lima, Santiago, Stockholm, Paris & other cities.

Folder 12: Bibby, Beatrice.

Folder 13: Bibby Family.

Folder 14 News Clippings.

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