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Dr. W.E. Cummer 1906-1910


Dr. W.E. Cummer

Dr. William Ernest Cummer, C.S.B., D.D.S., F.A.C.D., was born in Hamilton, Ontario on December 4th, 1879 ("Cummer," n.d.). He attended elementary and secondary school in Hamilton, and went on to graduate from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, University of Toronto in 1902 ("Cummer," n.d.). He was later appointed as the chair of prosthetic dentistry at the Royal College of Dental Surgeons in 1926, but eventually left this position to become the Dean of the Dental Faculty at the University of Detroit ("Father W.E. Cummer," n.d). In 1931, Cummer would resign from this deanship, which brought an end to his career as a dentist ("Father W.E. Cummer," n.d). He decided to go down a religious path and applied for admission to the Basilian novitiate, and was ordained in 1938 ("Father W.E. Cummer," n.d).

During his time as a dentist, Dr. Cummer was dedicated to prosthetic dentistry. He not only wrote papers that have become classics in the area of prosthetic dentistry publications, but was also said to have presented over 100 lectures on the subject in Canada, the United States, and in Rome, Italy ("A convert becomes a priest," n.d.). He also possessed extensive knowledge on the use of restorative appliances in cases of facial bone injuries, which was very helpful during World War I, when he served as a Major in the Dental Corps ("A convert becomes a priest," n.d.). However, his chief claim to fame in dentistry is in partial denture construction, as he conducted some of the most lasting pioneer work on this subject ("Cummer," n.d.).

Dr. Cummer also contributed greatly to the curriculum course content at the Royal College, and was instrumental in establishing a pre-dental course that equipped students with engineering skills ("Cummer," n.d.). Cummer was also the associate editor of Oral Health from 1917-1931 ("Cummer," n.d.). 

He was appointed to Faculty librarian from 1906 to 1910. During this time he updated the dental reference collection after complaints from the students that the collection was outdated (University of Toronto, 1907). He was in charge of updating a catalogue of books and distributed it to students, faculty, and all practicing dentist in Ontario. In 1910, he sent a copy of the catalogue to the College library (central library at UofT). During his appointment the library collection grew to about 700 volumes. 

Selected Works


Cummer, W.E. (1905). Electric ignitors for dental laboratories. Dominion Dental Journal Vol. 17: 443-447.

Cummer, W.E. (1911). Casting in dental prosthesis. Dominion Dental Journal Vol. 23: 179-185.

Cummer, W.E. (1911). Some neglected features in dental prosthesis. Dominion Dental Journal Vol. 23: 297-313.

Cummer, W.E. (1911). The dental laboratory. Dominion Dental Journal Vol. 23: 372-380.

Cummer, W.E. (1912). Partial dentures. Dominion Dental Journal Vol. 24 (3): 95-102.

Cummer, W.E. (1913). The retention of artificial dentures. Dominion Dental Journal Vol. 25 (4): 141-152.

Cummer, W.E. (1913). Professor Gysi's system of anatomical articulation. Oral Health Vol. 3 (11): 385-396.

Oral Health Journal. Dr. W.E. Cummer [Image]. Oral Health 17(6):235.

University of Toronto Dentistry Library. (n.d.). A convert becomes a priest. Unpublished manuscript, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. 

University of Toronto Dentistry Library. (n.d.). Cummer. Unpublished manuscript, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. 

University of Toronto Dentistry Library. (n.d.). Father W.E. Cummer. Unpublished manuscript, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

Faculty Librarians
Dr. W.E. Cummer 1906-1910