Federal Writers' Project - Life Histories/2018/Fall/Section 3/IdaMaeHiram

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Overview[edit]

Ida Mae Hiram was an African-American dentist in Athens, Georgia during the early 20th century.

Ida Mae Hiram
[[File:
File:IdaHiram.jpg
Ida Mae Hiram Graduation Photo
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BornAbout 1883
Athens, Georgia
DiedApril 1975
NationalityAmerican
EducationKnox Institute (1905) Meharry College of Dentistry (1910)
OccupationDentist

Biography[edit]

Early Life[edit]

Dr. Ida Mae Hiram (abt 1883 - April 1975)[1] was born in Athens, Georgia. Her father was a former slave and her mother died when Hiram was six years old. Little is known about Hiram’s childhood.[2]

Middle Life[edit]

After marrying L.C. Hiram[3] and having a daughter, Hiram attended Knox Institute and then Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee for dentistry. She became the first black woman in Georgia to pass the Georgia Dental Board Exam. [4] Hiram was one of only two women enrolled in Meharry Medical College, Dept. of Dentistry between 1910 and 1911. The other was white. [5] [6]

Later Life[edit]

Hiram opened her own practice in Athens, Georgia while her husband worked outside of the city. She was called the “only Negro woman practicing in [Georgia].” [7] Most of the work that she did was extractions. Hiram purchased her own home and sent her daughter to college in Brooklyn, New York. Her daughter earned a degree as a laboratory technician.

Hiram and her daughter were active in their church choir and often received requests to sing at white churches.[8] Unlike many women during the Great Depression, Hiram continued to live on her own and was successful in her business.

She died in April of 1975 in Athens, Georgia. Hiram was interviewed between 1936 and 1940 for the Federal Writer’s Project.[9]

Social Context[edit]

Role of Women During the Great Depression[edit]

During the 1930s and 40s, many women were pushed out of the work force. With high unemployment rates for men, women were discriminated against for having professional jobs. Many were forced to give up their jobs so that men could provide for the family. Most women that worked during this time were single. [10] The Section 213 of the 1932 Federal Economy Act was created to prevent married women from working. It stated that wives working for the government must be fired first.[11] Women were thought of as caretakers and housewives during the Great Depression.[12] Those who were able to find jobs faced discrimination.[13] The National Recovery Act guaranteed that women working in government were paid less than men. [14]

Most of the jobs available to women were low paying and had harsh working conditions. Many women found work in domestic services and factories.[15] Most unions refused to organize women during the Great Depression. They viewed women as temporary workers.[16]

There also was a drop in the number of women earning master’s and doctorate degrees during the 1930s. Many women did attend college, but most were taught about household roles. [17] In large cities, most women spent 48 hours every week working at home, limiting the amount of time that they could spend at professional jobs.[18] For many women, being a mother and wife was more important than starting a career. During the 20s, women became active in politics, but during the Great Depression, the belief that women belonged at home reappeared.[19]

Female Dentists in the 1930’s[edit]

In the Great Depression, the number of female dentists was very low. In 1930 there were 71,055 dentists. 69,768 were men and 1,287 were women.[20] Dentistry was thought of as too dirty for women. Female dentists often specialized in children’s teeth straightening, and gum conditions. Extraction was thought of as too harsh of a job for women.[21]

Dentists usually owned their own practices, so men and women's pay was not frequently compared. Female dentists earned less than men, but the difference was much less than other professional jobs during the Great Depression.[22]

African American Dentists in the 1930’s and 40's[edit]

There was a shortage African American dentists during the 20th century. There were only 286 African American students enrolled in dental school in 1945.[23] The number of black dentists did not meet the needs of the African Americans during the 1930s and 40s. With a high demand for African American dentists, wages were higher than many professions. The shortage also caused extractions to become common in the African American community. They were thought of as a quick, cheap solutions to tooth issues.[24]

In 1937, it became a requirement that applicants to dental school had to have more than two years of schooling.[25] Education costed thousands of dollars and was difficult to pay for during the Depression.[26] This caused a drop in the number of blacks becoming dentists.

Works Cited[edit]

Bosworth, Barry P. Physicians: A Study of Physicans' Fees. Report. Council on Wage of Price Stability, University of Minnesota Library. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1978. 75.

Burke, Angela. 1947. "Careers for Women." The Globe and Mail (1936-Current), Jul 05, 1947. http://libproxy.lib.unc.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1325920883?accountid=14244.

Dummett, Clifton O. "Improving Dentistry in the Negro Population." The Journal of Negro Education 15, no. 1 (1946): 31-35. doi:10.2307/2966309.

Federal Writers Project Papers. Coll. 03709. Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Groves, Gladys (Hoagland. The Married Woman; a Practical Guide to Happy Marriage. United States: 1936.

Gutmann, James L., DDS. "The Evolution of America’s Scientific Advancements in Dentistry in the past 150 Years." In JADA, 2. Vol. 140. Washington, D.C.: American Dental Association, 2009. First published in The Evolution of America’s Scientific Advancements in Dentistry in the past 150 Years 140 (September 2009): 2.

Hargrett Manuscripts. 975. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Future of Dental Education. Dental Education at the Crossroads: Challenges and Change. Edited by MJ Field. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 1995. 1995. Accessed October 6, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK232261/.

Kopelov, Connie. "Pay Equity Information." Pay Equity Information. August 1999. Accessed October 05, 2018. https://pay-equity.org/info-history.html.

Moran, Mickey. "1930s, America - Feminist Void?" 1930s, America - Feminist Void? 1988. Accessed October 05, 2018. http://people.loyno.edu/~history/journal/1988-9/moran.htm.

Number: 252-62-5308; Issue State: Georgia; Issue Date: 1957

Pidgeon, Mary E. and Margaret T. Mettert. "Woman Workers and Family Support." Monthly Labor Review (Pre-1986) 50, no. 000001 (01, 1940): 1. http://libproxy.lib.unc.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/227920109?accountid=14244.

Pidgeon, Mary Elizabeth. Women In the Economy of United States of America. Report no. 155. United States Department of Labor. Women's Bureau. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Priting Office, 1937. 56.

Southern Historical Collection. 03709. The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Woodhouse, Chase Going, Ruth Francis Yeomans Schiffman, International association of Altrusa clubs, and Association of American women dentists. Dentistry, its Professional Opportunities 1934.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Athens Ward 3, Clarke, Georgia; Roll: T625_243; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 9

References[edit]

  1. https://search.ancestryinstitution.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc=pbN16&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&qh=OPurqxBpnKFyy%2BoSNG3RmQ%3D%3D&gss=angs-g&new=1&rank=1&msT=1&gsfn=Ida%20Mae&gsfn_x=0&gsln=Hiram&gsln_x=0&msypn__ftp=Athens,%20Clarke,%20Georgia,%20USA&msypn=18082&catbucket=rstp&MSAV=0&uidh=yn9&pcat=ROOT_CATEGORY&h=27870931&recoff=9%2010&dbid=3693&indiv=1&ml_rpos=13
  2. Federal Writers Project Papers. Coll. 03709. Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  3. https://search.ancestryinstitution.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc=pbN18&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&qh=OPurqxBpnKFyy%2BoSNG3RmQ%3D%3D&gss=angs-g&new=1&rank=1&msT=1&gsfn=Ida%20Mae&gsfn_x=0&gsln=Hiram&gsln_x=0&msypn__ftp=Athens,%20Clarke,%20Georgia,%20USA&msypn=18082&catbucket=rstp&MSAV=0&uidh=yn9&pcat=ROOT_CATEGORY&h=7551470&dbid=6061&indiv=1&ml_rpos=3
  4. http://hmfa.libs.uga.edu/hmfa/view?docId=ead/ms975-ead.xml;query=Dr.%20Ida%20Mae%20Johnson%20Hiram%20papers;brand=default
  5. Dummett, Clifton O. "Improving Dentistry in the Negro Population." The Journal of Negro Education 15, no. 1 (1946): 31-35. doi:10.2307/2966309.
  6. Federal Writers Project Papers. Coll. 03709. Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  7. Ibid
  8. Ibid
  9. Ibid
  10. Pidgeon, Mary E. and Margaret T. Mettert. "Woman Workers and Family Support." Monthly Labor Review (Pre-1986) 50, no. 000001 (01, 1940): 1. http://libproxy.lib.unc.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/227920109?accountid=14244.
  11. Kopelov, Connie. "Pay Equity Information." Pay Equity Information. August 1999. Accessed October 05, 2018. https://pay-equity.org/info-history.html.
  12. Groves, Gladys (Hoagland. The Married Woman; a Practical Guide to Happy Marriage. United States: 1936.
  13. Moran, Mickey. "1930s, America - Feminist Void?" 1930s, America - Feminist Void? 1988. Accessed October 05, 2018. http://people.loyno.edu/~history/journal/1988-9/moran.htm.
  14. Kopelov, Connie. "Pay Equity Information." Pay Equity Information. August 1999. Accessed October 05, 2018. https://pay-equity.org/info-history.html.
  15. Moran, Mickey. "1930s, America - Feminist Void?" 1930s, America - Feminist Void? 1988. Accessed October 05, 2018. http://people.loyno.edu/~history/journal/1988-9/moran.htm
  16. Ibid
  17. Ibid
  18. Pidgeon, Mary Elizabeth. Women In the Economy of United States of America. Report no. 155. United States Department of Labor. Women's Bureau. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Priting Office, 1937. 56.
  19. Ibid
  20. Woodhouse, Chase Going, Ruth Francis Yeomans Schiffman, International association of Altrusa clubs, and Association of American women dentists. Dentistry, its Professional Opportunities 1934.
  21. Burke, Angela. 1947. "Careers for Women." The Globe and Mail (1936-Current), Jul 05, 1947. http://libproxy.lib.unc.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1325920883?accountid=14244.
  22. Woodhouse, Chase Going, Ruth Francis Yeomans Schiffman, International association of Altrusa clubs, and Association of American women dentists. Dentistry, its Professional Opportunities 1934.
  23. Woodhouse, Chase Going, Ruth Francis Yeomans Schiffman, International association of Altrusa clubs, and Association of American women dentists. Dentistry, its Professional Opportunities 1934.
  24. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Future of Dental Education. Dental Education at the Crossroads: Challenges and Change. Edited by MJ Field. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 1995. 1995. Accessed October 6, 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK232261/.
  25. Gutmann, James L., DDS. "The Evolution of America’s Scientific Advancements in Dentistry in the past 150 Years." In JADA, 2. Vol. 140. Washington, D.C.: American Dental Association, 2009. First published in The Evolution of America’s Scientific Advancements in Dentistry in the past 150 Years 140 (September 2009): 2.
  26. Woodhouse, Chase Going, Ruth Francis Yeomans Schiffman, International association of Altrusa clubs, and Association of American women dentists. Dentistry, its Professional Opportunities 1934.