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Dr. Clarissa Wimbush (d. 1986) Lynchburg Dentist

Clarissa Wimbush was born in Bedford County and grew up in the Dearington community of Lynchburg. She attended Virginia Seminary and College and received BS and DDS degrees from Howard University. In 1926 she opened an office on Fifth Street, where she practiced for over fifty years. Dr. Wimbush was the first black female dentist in Virginia.

Loaned by Frances Baird

Plaque Awarded to Dr. Clarissa Wimbush, 1966

In 1966 the Old Dominion Dental Society, of which she had been historian and then president, recognized Dr. Clarissa Wimbush for her contributions. Dr. Wimbush received many awards during her fifty-one years of practice, including the first United Fund Award for Outstanding Citizenship given to an African American in Lynchburg.

Loaned by Frances Baird

Instrument Cabinet of Dr. Clarissa Wimbush

In addition to her dental practice, Dr. Clarissa Wimbush served her church and community in many ways. Reluctant to retire even after fifty-one years, she continued to handle cases even after she sold her practice to Dr. Augustus A. Petticolas, Jr., who said of Dr. Wimbush, “She planted me as a seed in Lynchburg.” Other local dentists mentored by Dr. Wimbush included Dr. Herman E. Thompson and Dr. Hubert S. Diuguid.

Donated by Dr. Augustus A. Petticolas, Jr.

Shingle of Dr. Clarissa Wimbush

During her five decades of private dental practice, Dr. Clarissa Wimbush also served part-time as a dentist for the Lynchburg public schools. She was active in the YWCA and NAACP and in such interracial groups as Church Women United and the Council on Human Relations.

Donated by Jennifer Petticolas

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