George Franklin Grant

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George Franklin Grant
George Franklin Grant (1870).png
Grant in 1870
BornSeptember 15, 1846
DiedAugust 21, 1910(1910-08-21) (aged 63)
EducationHarvard School of Dental Medicine class of 1870
OccupationDentist, academic, inventor
SpouseGeorgina H. Smith
ChildrenMaybelle C.Grant (Mrs. Alfred P. Russell)
George F. Grant, Jr.
Frances O. Grant Theodora Grant, Helene Grant
Parent(s)Phillis Pitt
Tudor Elandor Grant
Golf tee patent, granted December 12, 1899

George Franklin Grant (September 15, 1846 – August 21, 1910) was the first African-American professor at Harvard. He was also a Boston dentist, and an inventor of a wooden golf tee.[1]


Grant was born on September 15, 1846, in Oswego, New York, to Phillis Pitt and Tudor Elandor Grant.[2][3]

He entered the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 1868, and graduated in 1870. He then took a position in the department of mechanical dentistry in 1871, making him Harvard University's first African-American faculty member.

Grant was a founding member and later the president of the Harvard Odontological Society and was a member of the Harvard Dental Alumni Association where he was elected president in 1881. In 1899 he improved on Percy Ellis' "Perfectum" tee.[4]

Grant died on August 21, 1910, at his vacation home in Chester, New Hampshire, of liver disease.[5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "George Franklin Grant, 1847-1910". Harvard. Archived from the original on 2012-02-13. Retrieved 2007-05-24. Dr. George Franklin Grant (1847-1910) of Oswego, New York, received a degree from the Harvard Dental School in 1870 and then joined the faculty as an authority on mechanical dentistry. He was the first African-American faculty member at the university and remembered today for his invention and patenting of the golf tee.
  2. ^ "African Americans and the Game of Golf". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-06-21. He was born on September 15, 1846 in the small town of Oswego, New Dork, and he was one of seven children born to Phillis Pitt and Tudor Elandor Grant.
  3. ^ "Son Invented Wooden Tee for Golfing". The Post-Standard. Archived from the original on 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2007-06-21. George Franklin Grant is the only one of Tudor E. Grant's four children who left much of a historical trail, but it's an intriguing one, notably for an invention used by millions of golfers. 'Born in 1847 in Oswego to Tudor and Phillis Pitt Grant, he was educated in Oswego but apparently left home at age 15 after an argument with his father over his taste in clothes. He went to work for an Oswego dentist named S.A. Smith, toiling in a laboratory for five years, according to a Boston Public Library document.
  4. ^ Mary Bellis, "History of Golf & Golf Equipment".
  5. ^ Pete McDaniel (2000). "Birth of the tee: The story behind the man who gave the ball the perfect setup - George Franklin Grant, inventor". Bnet. Retrieved 2007-05-24. Grant was born in 1846 in Oswego, N.Y. Unlike many modern-day heroes, his contribution to the game was through ingenuity and resourcefulness rather than playing ability. Grant received a patent for the golf tee in 1899. His was the blueprint for today's wooden and plastic tees. He owned the first patent, but it took almost a century to receive recognition for his invention.