Bryan, Ollie Louise (1871–1932)

By: Sergey Gordeev

Revised by: Jennifer Bridges

Type: Biography

Published: August 1, 2013

Updated: September 20, 2017

Ollie Louise Bryan, the first African-American woman to become a practicing dentist in the South, was born in Tennessee on December 28, 1871. She was the daughter of Anderson and Anna Louise (Smith) Bryant. As a young woman she entered Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, where she graduated in 1902, the first woman to do so. By 1906 she had married Dr. Felix A. Bryan, a Jamaican native who had become a United States citizen in 1895. The couple moved to Dallas, Texas, where she began practicing as a dentist no later than 1909.

In 1910 the Bryan family was wealthy enough to have a live-in cook and houseboy. Ollie Bryan was an active participant in women's social clubs in Dallas, such as the Priscilla Art Club. She was also one of the seventeen women who organized the Royal Art and Charity Club. In 1916 she retired from dentistry and remained a housewife. After being widowed by her husband, she died on November 23, 1932, in Dallas, where she was buried at Woodland Cemetery.

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James Summerville, Educating Black Doctors: A History of Meharry Medical College (University, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1983). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • Dentists
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Women
Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Sergey Gordeev Revised by Jennifer Bridges, “Bryan, Ollie Louise,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022,

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August 1, 2013
September 20, 2017

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