The George A. Zurkow Collection

Historical Archives

The George A. Zurkow Collection at the Delaware Academy of Medicine

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Overview of the Collection

Repository: Delaware Academy of Medicine, John H. Ammon Medical Education Center, 4765 Ogletown Stanton Road, Suite L-10, Newark, DE, 19713
Creator: Zurkow, George A., 1915-2006
Title: The George A. Zurkow Collection
Dates: 1994
Quantity: 1 audiotape
Abstract: An audiotape interview with Dr. George A. Zurkow, DDS.
Identification: US DeWAM DC8
Language: The records are in English.

Biographical Note

Tuesdays find 90-year-old George A. Zurkow, D.D.S., FACD, FICD, doing one of the things he has always done best-challenging the mind of a fellow professional.

Edwin L. Granite, D.M.D., chair, program director and section chief of the Departmental of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Hospital Dentistry, bounces plans off of Dr. Zurkow, his chief policy advisor and long-time mentor. Dr. Zurkow’s advice flows from 60-plus years in dentistry and endodontics and nearly six decades at Wilmington Hospital. The longest-standing member of the Medical-Dental Staff, Dr. Zurkow also serves as a trustee of Christiana Care.

From the start, Dr. Zurkow liked a challenge. Expected to follow in his veterinarian father’s footsteps, he pursued dentistry instead. He joined Wilmington General Hospital as director of the Department of Dentistry in 1946.

When Wilmington General, Delaware and Memorial Hospitals merged, Dr. Zurkow pivotally shaped the new dental department. A forward-thinker, he secured accreditation from the American Dental Association for oral and maxillofacial surgery and general practice residencies.

“Hospital residencies are incredibly important for dentists,” remarks Dr. Zurkow. “Dentistry is key to general health, and by training residents in a clinical, hospital setting, we’re teaching them to be better dentists.”
Perhaps most important to the department, Dr. Zurkow secured a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson foundation-one of only 25 awarded to hospitals in 1980. It allowed the department to expand and dedicate itself to providing dental care to the underserved.

By promoting excellence in training and links with the community, Dr. Zurkow impacted dental health not only at Christiana Care but in Delaware in myriad ways. Perhaps most notably, he spearheaded a difficult drive for fluoridation of the Wilmington water supply. He has also spent decades teaching at the Universities of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Few realize he has never taken a salary for teaching or for working at Christiana Care.

Dr. Granite reflects on Dr. Zurkow. “This man has been considered ‘Mr. Dentistry’ in the state of Delaware. At great expense to himself, he has given years of service to the hospital and the state, and he has made many, many suggestions that have improved our organization and department.”

Dr. Zurkow passed away in December 2006.

Highlights of Dr. Zurkow’s career
Steered the development of the newly combined dental department in late 1960s.
Became chair of Wilmington Medical Center’s Department of Dentistry.
Secured Robert Wood Johnson grant to expand the department.
Successfully promoted the phrase “medical-dental staff” to be used at Christiana Care.
Served as president of: the American Association of Endodontics; DE State Dental Society, and Delaware’s Academy of Medicine (as the first dentist to do so).
Led drive for fluoridation of Wilmington water supply.
Invented Delaware Institute for Dental Education and Research (DIDER).
Assumed many leadership roles with United Way of Delaware.
Continues to serve as policy advisor to the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Hospital Dentistry Department and as trustee of Christiana Care.
Source: Originally published under the title “Zurkow’s Zest — Delaware dental pioneer continues to impact Christiana Care” in Focus, newsletter of the Christiana Care Health System, November 10, 2005.

 

Scope and Contents

The collection includes an audiotape of a 1994 oral history interview with Dr. Zurkow.

 

Arrangement

Unarranged.

 

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access
This collection is open to the public.

Restrictions on Use
No publication or reproduction for anything other than personal use without the permission of the Delaware Academy of Medicine. Any use of these materials must be in accordance with the Delaware Academy of Medicine’s archival access policy.

 

Related Material

Dr. Zurkow has a file in the Delaware Academy of Medicine biographical collection (AC1-N279), which includes his CV, a questionnaire about his time as president of the Academy, and some articles about him.

The Delaware Academy of Medicine Health Fair Records includes some of Dr. Zurkow’s correspondence about the fair, written in his official capacity as Academy president.

Donation records indicate that Dr. Zurkow gave two books to the Academy library. However, these are not present in the archive and may not have been retained.

 

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Persons:
Zurkow, George A., 1915-2006

Organizations:
Delaware Academy of Medicine (Wilmington, Del.)

Subjects:
Dentistry—Delaware—biography

Occupations:
Dentistry

 

Administrative Information

Processing Information
Arranged and described by Christopher Shea, April 2006. Last update to finding aid by Christopher Shea, February 2007. Dates given in detailed listing below are the dates of creation or publication, not acquisition or accession, unless noted otherwise.

 

Detailed Description of the Collection

Artifacts

Dr. George A. Zurkow interview tape, 1994
A May 25, 1994, interview of Dr. Zurkow recorded on audio cassette.