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Alfred Owre papers

Identifier: 760

Scope and Content

This small collection of the papers of Alfred Owre consists of letters to Dr. M. Holland for his centennial history of the School of Dentistry and personal correspondence of Dr. Owre and his wife Charlotte. The letters in the collection are photocopies, the originals were returned to the Owre family. In addition, there is an envelope of photographs of Dr. Owre and his hiking group on their trips and also includes recollections by Professor Downs about these hikes, for which Alfred Owre was famous. A folder regarding a memorial service held at the University on March 14, 1935 includes various tributes to Dean Owre.


  • 1917-1962
  • (bulk 1933-1938)


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Requests for permission to quote from the Alfred Owre papers should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives head.

Biographical Sketch of Alfred Owre (1870-1935)

Alfred Owre was born in Hammerfest, Norway on December 16, 1870. He came to the United States in 1884 and attended the Lutheran Preparatory School in Minneapolis from 1884-1885. He received a D.M.D. from the University of Minnesota College of Dentistry in 1895; M.D. and C.M. Degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Hamline University in 1895; B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1910 and So.D. (Honorary) from Columbia University in 1929. He was Dean and Professor of Theory and Practice of the College of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota from 1905-1927. After his tenure at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Owre became the Dean of the School of Dental and Oral Surgery at Columbia University from 1927-1933.

Alfred Owre believed the professions of dentistry and medicine should be combined, as he viewed dentistry to be an extension of medicine. He built the School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota into one of the most prestigious programs in the country by establishing a 4-year curriculum, which required a background in medicine. He also wanted to establish low priced dental clinics, which would provide quality dental care to the middle class and poor. This idea was implemented during his time at Columbia, but was abandoned after a short time because of the opposition of practicing dentists who feared loss of business.

Many of Dr. Owre's ideas were not popular at Columbia. By 1933, Dr. Owre had lost many of his supporters and submitted his resignation on February 14, 1933. He was granted a leave of absence and his resignation was finally accepted on June 30, 1934, at which time he was eligible for retirement. He died on January 2, 1935 in New York City.


1 box (0.25 linear feet)


Collection contains the papers of Dr. Alfred Owre, Dean of the College of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota.

Other Finding Aid Available

A finding aid with detailed contents is available in University Archives.

Source of acquisition

Photographs were donated to University Archives by Professor Lynwood Downs on May 21, 1951.

Related Materials in University of Minnesota Archives

Lynwood Gifford Downs papers

Guy Stanton Ford papers

August Charles Krey papers

School of Dentistry papers

Related Materials at Other Institutions

The Minnesota Historical Societyhas materials in their collection related to Alfred Owre.

Alfred Owre papers, 1917-1962
Karen Klinkenberg; updated Karen Spilman
updated February 2005
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area