Object of the Month

Dr. George J. Snowball’s Medical Kit

This well-worn medical kit belonged to Dr. George Joseph Snowball (1878-1984) who conducted a dental practice on West All Saints Street for fifty-seven years between 1913 and 1970. Now preserved in the collection at Heritage Frederick, the kit is a significant artifact from the vibrant professional community that existed on All Saints Street during the era of racial segregation in Frederick.

George Snowball was born in Kingston, Jamaica, then a part of the British West Indies. He began his working life as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. However, George aspired to become a doctor. After a decade of teaching and saving money, George immigrated to the United States and entered the dental school at Howard University. After a year in Washington, DC, George transferred to Meharry Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee, where he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. Dr. Snowball returned to Maryland to take his exams and become licensed to practice.

Dr. David G. Everhart, a member of the State Board of Medical Examiners, was impressed with Dr. Snowball and offered to assist him in establishing a practice in Frederick. He introduced Dr. Snowball to another Frederick physician, Dr. Ulysses G. Bourne, Sr., who became a lifelong friend and professional colleague. Dr. Bourne helped Dr. Snowball set up his first office at 5 West All Saints Street. Later, Dr. Snowall moved his practice to 28 West All Saints Street, next door to Dr. Bourne’s office. By this time, George had married May Naomi Wolfe of Lewistown, and she worked as his receptionist and nurse.

The Snowballs kept long hours serving the residents of Frederick. Dr. Snowball often received patients from 9:00 in the morning to noon, 1:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon, and again in the evening after 7:00. The family was actively engaged in the First Missionary Baptist Church. Dr. Snowball received several accolades from community organizations in recognition of his service to Frederick. A special acknowledgement came in 1969 when he received the President’s Award from his alma mater, Meharry Medical School, to recognize his half century in the dental profession.

Failing eyesight forced Dr. Snowball to retire in 1970 at the age of 92 after fifty-seven years in his practice. He died at the age of 105 in 1984 and was buried at Fairview Cemetery in Frederick.