Harry Sicher, MD, DSc.: pioneer dental anatomist

J Hist Dent. 2003 Nov;51(3):93-100.


Harry Sicher, MD, DSc (1889-1974), a world-renowned and highly respected head, neck and dental anatomist, received his MD from the University of Vienna Medical School in his native Austria in 1913. Studying under the famed Dr. Julius Tandler, Sicher received a broad and solid foundation in all aspects of anatomy. He clearly understood that anatomic structure was closely related to body function. After graduating from medical school, Dr. Sicher specialized in dentistry, where he worked in clinical practice, teaching and research. He remained associated with the University of Vienna until 1938, when Hitler's annexation of Austria forced Jewish intellectuals to flee from Europe. Sicher emigrated to Chicago in 1939 where he became a professor and chairman of the anatomy department at the Loyola Dental School until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1960. The extent of Harry Sicher's knowledge and scientific productivity was staggering. He studied and understood the complexities of many scientific disciplines, including anthropology, applied head, neck and oral anatomy, biology, bone metabolism, comparative anatomy, embryology, endocrinology, entomology, evolutionary biology, histology, occlusion, pathology and physiology. His collaborations with Drs. Balint J. Orban and Joseph P. Weinmann were especially productive. In the classroom, his teaching skills were legendary. As a roving lecturer, he spoke to dental, medical and specialty audiences worldwide for decades. He had the rare ability to make a description of the human body come vibrantly alive. Several of his books, Oral Anatomy (1949), Bone and Bones (1944) and Orban's Oral Histology and Embryology (1962, 1966, 1972) became authoritative textbooks for dentists throughout the world.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Anatomy / history*
  • Austria
  • Education, Dental / history*
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • United States

Personal name as subject

  • Harry Sicher