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Georgiana “Georgia” Palmer Monks became the first woman graduate of the University of Maryland Dental Department in 1909. She came from a small town in Tioga County, Pennsylvania; she was a graduate of Lock Haven State Normal School and taught in Chatham Valley before becoming a dentist. Dr. Monks came from a family of dentists; her brother, Frederick Monks had preceded his sister in graduating from the Dental Department in 1908. Another brother, Dr. Charles E. Monks, graduated from the Baltimore Medical College Dental Department in 1901; he served as Georgiana’s preceptor in dental school. Yet another brother, Dr. Leon D. Monks, was also a practicing dentist in New Haven, CT.
At graduation, Dr. Georgiana Monks received the University Gold Medal Award, given to the graduate with the highest grade at final examination as well as first honorable mention for the Best Non-Cohesive Gold Filling. Dr. Monks was the only woman to graduate from the Dental Department in 1909. She was called “Grandma” in the Terra Mariae Yearbook perhaps because she was “the nicest girl.”
After graduation, Dr. Monks practiced dentistry with her brother, Dr. Frederick E. Monks, in Connecticut. Later, her sister, Dr. Jesse G. Monks, a prize-winning graduate of Ohio College of Dental Surgery in 1919, would join her in a dental practice in New Haven, CT. The sisters worked and lived together until Dr. Georgia Monks retired in 1942. She passed away on November 21, 1959.
Terra Maria Yearbook. (1909). Retrieved from: https://archive.org/details/terramariae1909univ/page/171/mode/1up
Twenty-Eighth Annual Announcement and Catalogue of the Dental Department of the University of Maryland. (1909). Retrieved from: https://archive.org/details/schoolden09unse/page/n5/mode/1up
“Local Girls Wins Highest Honors.” (June 16, 1919). New Britain herald. (New Britain, ConnChronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82014519/1919-06-16/ed-1/seq-11/.
“Middlebury Girl a Dentist.” (June 9, 1909). The Wellsboro Gazette Combined with Mansfield Advertiser. (Wellsboro, PA): 4.