Irving Snider: Practicing Dentistry in the Yukon
Date:Sunday, August 10, 1975
ID:Digital audio recording #: 19.75-13
Interviewer: Cyril E. Leonoff & A. Myer Freedman
MF: At that time you didn’t practice in Vancouver at all, you went directly to the Yukon?
IS: I practiced in interior British Columbia for a couple of months: Lillooet, Lytton, Ashcroft, and then Dr. Franks had gone up North that fall and he did so well and saw the need of dentists in that part of the country, he asked me if I would join him. So in 1925, in January, we left for Stewart, British Columbia. And we were supposed to take over a dental practice of an unlicensed dentist there but we didn’t like Stewart and we kept going and finally got to Skagway and from Skagway we went to Whitehorse. And we got to Whitehorse and we found out that there had been two dentists living in the Yukon: one had passed away and the other had left for Seattle. And there were no dentists in the Yukon at all. So that was our reason for going into Whitehorse and then into Dawson.
MF: And you moved about from city to city as your services were required?
IS: Yeah, we had portable equipment that we could set up in about two or three hours and we would be ready to work.
CL: This was Robert Franks?
IS: Robert Franks.
CL: And he was the son of Zebulon…
IS: Zebulon Franks.
CL: Were you the first two Jewish boys that graduated from dentistry?
IS: No, the first Jewish dentist here was Dr. Gerald Plant and there was another dentist, I can’t recall his name now, about that time.
CL: And where did they get their training?
IS: Gerald Plant also got [his] from North Pacific College in Oregon.
CL: How much before you would he have been?
IS: Four or five years before we graduated.
MF: Did you meet any other Jewish people in the Yukon at that time?
IS: There was…We only ran across one man who was mining about 60 miles out of Dawson. But I did meet various Jewish people because in the summer time the tourist boats would come into Dawson. And I went down and met the rabbi from Los Angeles, I can’t remember his name now…[Magnun]. Rabbi [Magnun]. And I saw his name in the paper as having arrived in Dawson so I went down on the boat and I made myself known to him. And he said, “How would a young fellow like you decide to come up here and practice dentistry in the Yukon [laughing]?” So I told him the same story I’m telling you…