Everyone knows about the ADA, but not so many folks know about the small-town Indiana dentist who played a key role in the organization’s history.
Dr. John E. Regan, an IDA member from Huntington, Indiana, wants to change that. He is working with the Huntington County Historical Museum to place a Historical Marker in Huntington to honor Dr. Otto U. King.
According to the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA), Dr. King was its first editor, a post he held from 1913 until 1925.
In its 2013 100th Anniversary Issue, JADA stated, “Then as now, the editorship was a big job, but Dr. King had an even larger role in the life of the Association. For much of the time he served as editor, he also held the office of executive secretary, a post that was forerunner to today’s executive director,” JADA called Dr. King, “one man with two very large hats.”
Make that five hats. While serving as ADA executive director and editor of the ADA publication, Dr. King was also editor of the Journal of Indiana Dental Association. He also served as IDA President in 1914-15. All while maintaining a private dental practice in Huntington. In 1917, he moved his family to Chicago to devote more time to working with the national association.
Dr. Regan has worked hard to preserve Dr. King’s role in organized dentistry’s history.
“Dr. King changed a fledgling organization into a highly respected professional body,” stated Dr. Regan. “He was well known and highly respected both nationally and internationally. Dr. King enhanced the prestige of the profession and every practicing dentist.”
Huntington’s local Historical Society agrees. They recently approved construction of a historical marker to be placed at the site of Dr. King’s former dental practice. The move has support of the Mayor and Huntington, as well as the Indiana Historical Society. They are also making application to the Indiana Historical Bureau to receive state designation for the marker.
Indiana dentists can play a role in memorializing Dr. King by making a contribution toward the $2,500 cost of constructing and placing the historical marker. Contributions may be made to the Huntington County Historical Museum, 315 Court Street, Huntington, IN 46750. Any contributions exceeding the final cost will be designated for a permanent exhibit honoring Dr. King and local dentistry in the Huntington County Historical Museum.
For more information, contact Dr. John E. Regan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. King had previously been featured in the Spring 2013 Journal of the IDA. You can find that story here.