American Medical Biographies/Black, Greene Vardiman

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Black, Green Vardiman (1836–1914)

Green V. Black was born in Scott County, Illinois, August 3, 1836, grandson of Captain William Black of the North Carolina militia just before the Mecklenburg Rebellion, and one of the first officers to refuse allegiance to the British Crown. Dr. Black was reared on a farm and had very limited schooling, but was an apt student and tireless reader. Like Lincoln he was endowed by nature for better things. He read medicine with his brother, Dr. T. G. Black. In 1858 he opened a dental office in Winchester, Ill. He served in the hospital corps about two years. In 1864 he began dentistry in Jacksonville, Ill. He taught chemistry to the school teachers and gave instruction in microscopy to medical students. He successsfully passed the examination given by the state board of health in 1878 and was licensed to practise medicine. He was elected a member of the Moyan County Medical Society in 1880 and frequently presented papers to that organization. Dr. Black's great work was done after 1870. He was for ten years lecturer on pathology in the Missouri Dental College, St. Louis; then in the dental department of the Iowa State University. In 1890 he was appointed dean of the dental department of the Northwestern-University, and remained in this position for twenty-six years. Under his direction this became the largest dental school in the world. He was the first president of the Illinois State Board of Dental Examiners, president of the American Dental and Illinois State Dental Association, honorary president of the International Dental Association during the World's Fair in St. Louis, 1904.

Dr. Black's published books have been translated into German, French and Spanish. In 1909 he visited Europe on the invitation of the American Dental Association in Europe and delivered addresses in the leading capitals. He invented and patented the first cord transmission dental engine and many of the present dental operations are due to his genius. He invented one of the best staphylorraphy needles for his friend Dr. David Prince (q.v.), now in use by many who do not know of the inventor.

After his death the American Dental Association erected a beautiful monument in Jackson Park, Chicago, to his memory. This was dedicated in 1917. No man ever bore the high honors bestowed on him with more modesty than Dr. Black. He was almost worshipped by the dental profession.

His talented sons, Dr. Carl E. Black of Jacksonville, and Dr. Arthur D. Black, perpetuated his name.