The Kentucky Dental Association (formerly the Kentucky State Dental Association, 1860-1861, 1870-1957) was first organized in 1860. The members held two meetings in 1860 and 1861, but the Civil War curtailed further organization. The association was revived in the spring of 1870 and incorporated at that time by the state legislature. By December, 1870, a constitution and rules of order were adopted, and the first formal business meeting was held in Louisville under the new guidelines on February 7 and 8, 1871.
In the beginning, the members held monthly meetings, but soon the group adopted a yearly meeting format. According to early minutes, members operated an infirmary in Louisville and meetings included demonstrations and discussions on dental procedures and problems. By the late 1970s, the annual meeting lasted several days with member dentists from all parts of Kentucky in attendance. Participants read papers and discussed educational standards for the profession. In 1900, district societies, which had been formed earlier, joined the state organization. At the turn of the century some members worked toward affiliation with the national organization, but it was not until 1914 when the Kentucky State Dental Association voted to become a constitute society of the National Dental Association, the fore-runner of the American Dental Association. The 1920s and 1930s constituted a period of consolidation and growth of the organization. Regional societies were reorganized and the Kentucky State Dental Society was modeled after the national group.
In search of a more professional outlook, the state organization began the production of a regular quarterly bulletin in 1946; two years later this publication evolved into a quarterly journal under the editorship of Dr. Joe Jones, Jr. At that time the members considered the employment of an executive secretary and voted to set aside money for a permanent home. In 1948 Alvin Bartley "Bing" Coxwell, Jr. (1913-1979) was elected secretary-treasurer of the Kentucky State Dental Association. For several years he conducted the business of the association from his dental office, but in the mid 1950s, the organization moved to rented space at 2208 Dundee Road in Louisville. A fund drive, which had begun in 1961, resulted in a permanent home for the organization with the purchase of a building at 1940 Princeton Drive, Louisville, in 1966. Dr. Coxwell became the full-time secretary-treasurer and executive secretary in 1960. His title was later changed to executive director and he served in the dual capacity until his retirement in 1978. Dr. Theodore E. Logan, Sr. (1922-) succeeded Coxwell with the title of executive director.
The archives of the Kentucky Dental Association were largely produced by Coxwell, Logan and their staff. The records reflect the role and scope of the Kentucky Dental Association, such as the activities of individual members, officers, executive boards, committees, their relationship with the American Dental Association, and the organization's lobbying efforts.
The historical records consist of twelve series with finding aids for each.