Ida Rollins 1867-1953
Ida Rollins, the first African American female dentist, became an orphan shortly after birth. Rollins’ white father, whose name is unknown, played no role in her childhood or education. After her mother’s death, Ida was raised by her aunt, Caroline Gray who was a seamstress and taught her the trade.
While in high school, Ida Gray worked in the dental office of Jonathan and William Taft. This job was instrumental in her desire to become a dentist. Jonathan Taft was the dean of the Ohio College of Dentistry and a staunch supporter of admitting women to dental school. After graduation as a Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1890, Gray opened a private dental practice.
Rollins participated in a number of women’s organizations and served as president of the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago.