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John Miller Hyson Jr.

Dental historian and collector

October 04, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Dr. John Miller Hyson Jr., 81, a retired dentist, former director of archives and history at the National Museum of Dentistry and author who wrote widely on the history of dentistry, died Sept. 26 of a stroke at a Baltimore hospice.

Hyson was a prodigious contributor to the Journal of the History of Dentistry, the Military Medicine journal and the Bulletin of the History of Dentistry.

His articles covered such topics as the history of the toothbrush, women dentists, George Washington's dental health and his wooden dentures, and African American contract dental surgeons in the Spanish American War.

At the National Museum of Dentistry at the University of Maryland Dental School, Hyson served in various curatorial posts, including director of archives and history.

The son of a dentist and a homemaker, Hyson was born in Baltimore on Oct. 17, 1927. He graduated from the University of Maryland Dental School in 1950, then served as a dental officer in the Air Force at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida until 1953.

He earned a master's degree in oral surgery at the University of Maryland Dental School in 1959, and a master's in museum studies in 1999 at the University of Delaware.

In 1953, he established a general dental practice and worked until retiring in 1999.

Hyson also was an avid collector of historic dental memorabilia dating to the 19th century, including instruments, books and U.S. Army Dental Corps uniforms. Part of his collection was purchased recently by the Army Medical Department Museum Foundation in San Antonio.


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