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Celebrating Women's History Month: Dr. Emilie Foeking

Written by Adam Zewe

Emilie Foeking, DDS, became the first woman to graduate from the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery on Feb. 27, 1873. A native of Germany, she traveled to Philadelphia to study dentistry because German colleges did not admit women. However, The Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery turned Dr. Foeking away, since the school had recently stopped enrolling female students.

Dr. Foeking refused to be discouraged; she journeyed to Baltimore and appealed directly to BCDS Dean Ferdinand Gorgas, who allowed her to enroll. Dr. Foeking earned the respect of her male peers and was commended in the "American Journal of Dental Science" for her trailblazing efforts. "She has earned her degree by proficiency and earnest application. . .That she will succeed in establishing a large and lucrative practice, there is no doubt, as she is well-qualified professionally ," according to an article in the "Journal."

After graduation, Dr. Foeking returned to Germany and established a private practice in Berlin. She inspired many other German women to study dentistry in the United States, including Dr. Louise Jacobi, who become the second woman to graduate from UMSOD in 1874.

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