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URMC / Libraries / Basil G. Bibby Library / History / Papers of Basil Bibby

Papers of Basil G. Bibby


Photo of Basil G. BibbyDr. Basil G. Bibby, DDS (1904-1998) was Director of the Eastman Dental Center (EDC) from 1947 to 1970. Originally known as the Rochester Dental Dispensary, EDC was established to provide dental care for children and the undeserved in the Rochester, New York community. Under Dr. Bibby's guidance, EDC became 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, EDC 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 EDC relocated to Elmwood Avenue in 1978, an anonymous donation funded a new library – upon condition that it be named after Dr. Bibby. Dr. 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. This collection, along with the rest of the EDC Archives, was transferred from Bibby Library to the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section of the Edward G. Miner Library in the autumn of 2017. The collection was reprocessed in the winter of 2018.

A detailed inventory of the files pertaining to Basil G. Bibby is provided at the Eastman Dental Center Archives webpage, Series 6. Boxes 1-13: Persons. Bibby material is contained in Box 1, Folders 10-20 and all of Boxes 2-6. Among the Bibby materials are curricula vitae, obituaries, correspondence, reports, oral presentations, four bound volumes of reprints and four boxes of diplomas, certificates, awards, etc.

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 about 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.

Selected Images of Dr. Basil G. Bibby

Bibby conducting research in dental laboratory with colleague, Dr. Weiss. Bibby was an avid researcher.
Dr. Bibby conducting research in the laboratory with colleague, Dr. Weiss.

Basil G. Bibby in the office, a humorous moment.
Casual photograph of Bibby in the office, he is seated and smiling.

Drs. Whipple and Bibby
Dr. Whipple and Dr. Bibby

Bibby in the classroom at Eastman Dental.
Dr. Bibby at the front of a classroom.

Bibby in the midst of a class lecture to dental interns.
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.
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.
Basil Bibby and Domenick Zero at Bibby's 90th Birthday Tribute.

View more historical images at Bibby Library's History page, or the Eastman Institute for Oral Health (EIOH) collections at the New York Heritage website , and UR Research.