Sunday, January 4, 2009

John Richard Cofield, D.D.S.

The signature below of John Richard Cofield was found on the inside front cover of a small, bound black book that was in the possession of his daughter, Pearl Cofield Robinson, at her death. Most of the pages of the small book are blank, but Pearl used the first few pages to write down the birth dates of her parents and siblings and other family members. Carefully folded within the pages of the book were newspaper clippings of various obituaries. The book obviously belonged to Pearl’s father, and he probably wrote his name between 1900 and 1902, after graduation from dental school and while he and Dollie were still living at Bull Mountain. The couple moved to Hackleburg around 1902 so I believe the signature took place before then.

In 1897 John enrolled at Birmingham Dental College in Birmingham, Alabama, one of seventeen freshmen. This college, located at 211-213 Twenty-First Street, was a three-year program and was recognized by the National Association of Dental Examiners. Students were required to attend such courses as Crown and Bridge Work, Chemistry and Metallurgy, and Dental Pathology and Therapeutics. Each course cost $100 plus additional fees for books, dental instruments, and board.

The annual publication of the Birmingham Dental College has been obtained for the years 1898-1899 and 1899-1900. These publications appear to include the names of the students who were enrolled in the preceding session. For example, the 1898-1899 program indicates that John was a freshman for the 1897-1898 session while the 1899-1900 program shows John as a junior in the 1898-1899 session. The college had three classifications of students: freshman, junior and senior (no sophomore).

On April 26, 1900 John R. Cofield received his D.D.S. degree along with nine other graduates in a commencement ceremony held in the Jefferson Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama. The announcement of the commencement and the graduates appeared in the 1900 issue of The Dental Cosmos.

John Cofield was listed in the 1902-1903 Polk’s Dental Register and Directory as a practicing dentist in Marion County, Alabama. See below:

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