Irwin A. Small papers: 1947-1997 (bulk 1986-1997)
Summary Information
Title: Irwin A. Small papers
Creator: Small, Irwin A.
Inclusive dates: 1947-1997
Bulk dates: 1986-1997
Extent: 1.5 linear feet
Irwin Small graduated from the University of Michigan in 1949 where he was a member of the national champion football teams in 1947 and 1948. Small went on to a career in dentistry specializing in oral and maxillofacial surgery. He developed a mandibular staple for use with fixed dental implants. The collection contains articles, slides, and videotapes related to the development and use of the mandibular staple bone plate, and material on the University of Michigan 1947 and 1948 football teams, particularly the 50th reunions.
Call number: 0379 Aa 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
Home Page:
Finding aid created by Philip Heslip, May 2009

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was a gift of Irwin A. Small (donor no. 8792) July 2008

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open without restriction.


Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Irwin A. Small papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Irwin A. Small was raised in Tarrytown, New York where he was a star of the Washington Irving High School football team, 1941-1943. He enrolled in the University of Michigan in 1944 as a freshman and joined the football team as a "walk-on." Small completed one semester before joining the Air Force. He returned to Michigan in 1946 as a second semester freshman, but under the postwar rules freshmen were no longer eligible for varsity competition. Small was invited to join the 1947 squad and played quarterback and linebacker for the scout team that emulated the opposing teams plays during practice sessions. Though he did not see action during the regular season, Coach Fritz Crisler named Small to the traveling squad for the 1948 Rose Bowl game against the University of Southern California. Small played the role of quarterback in the T-formation offense that Southern California ran. Michigan won the Rose Bowl 49-0 and was named national champions in the final Associated Press poll.

Small saw limited action in two games in the 1948 season. The 1948 team was undefeated and ranked number one by the Associated Press.

Small received his B.S. degree from the University of Michigan in 1949 and a D.D.S. from Columbia University in 1953. He completed his residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at St. Louis University and Mt. Carmel Mercy Hospital. He was in private practice in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan for 38 years. Small developed a compression staple or fixed mandibular implant for denture prosthesis and reconstructive surgery. His mandibular implant and the tools used with it were commercially distributed by Hall Reconstructive Systems.

The 1947 Michigan football squad was an especially close-knit squad. The fact that many team members were World War II veterans and the experience of an undefeated season, Big Ten Championship, Rose Bowl victory, and national championship forged a special bond. The team held well attended reunions every five years and as the 50th anniversary approached, Kurt Kampe and other team members proposed holding the reunion in Pasadena. Kampe began planning and organizing the reunion, but became ill and died in 1995. Small assumed the role of principal organizer.

Small prepared a program for the reunion that included a video of the game film of the 1948 Rose Bowl game, for which he provided a narration, and several other films featuring Coach Fritz Crisler and clips of early Michigan football. With the assistance of other team members he prepared a commemorative book.

Small was also the main organizer of the 1948 team's 50-year reunion held in Ann Arbor. He provided a voice-over commentary for a videotape of the 1948 Indiana game, a 54-0 Michigan victory in which nearly every team member played. Small and several teammates produced a commemorative publication of the reunion.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Irwin A. Small collection consists of two series, Football Team Reunions and Dentistry Career.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Mandible -- Surgery.
  • Mandibular prosthesis.
  • Dentists -- Michigan.
  • Videotapes.
  • University of Michigan -- Football.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Football Team Reunions [series]

The Football Team Reunion series (.5 linear feet) documents the organizing of the 50 year reunions of the 1947 and 1948 University of Michigan football teams and the programs presented at the reunions. The papers consist of correspondence and miscellaneous papers, a questionnaire completed by the 1947 team, a small number of photographs, and a videotape and the commemorative book produced for each reunion.

The correspondence, most of which relates to the 1947 team reunion, is divided into Kampe files, generated by Kurt Kampe, the original organizer of 50th reunion, and the files of Irwin Small who assumed leadership of the reunion after Kampe's death. The correspondence provides information about the preparations for the reunion and some interesting insights and information about the players' experiences at Michigan and their later careers.

The videotape produced for the 1947 team reunion includes footage of the team's arriving in Pasadena, complete footage of the 1948 Rose Bowl game with some voice-over narration by Dr. Small, several highlight clips from the 1947 season and portions of a television program about Coach Fritz Crisler. The 1948 reunion video is of the 1948 Indiana game, a 54-0 Michigan victory in which nearly every team member played. Dr. Small provided a voice-over commentary for the video. These videos are stored with Athletic Department game tapes at the Bentley.

The commemorative books include reproductions of articles, rosters and photographs from game programs and other sources, newspaper clippings, letters, play diagrams and other material from the Herbert O. Crisler and Bennie Oosterbaan papers and other sources at the Bentley Library, biographical material about team members and recollections written by some team members. Each of the books was autographed by all the team members attending the reunions.

Box   1  
Irwin Small Files
Box   1  
Miscellaneous Clippings 1947, 1958, 1997
Box   1  
Treasure Chest Comic Book, "Michigan Wolverines," 1956
Box   1  
Photographs 1997
Box   1  
Questionnaire 1996
Box   1  
Kurt Kampe Reunion Files 1994-1996 (3 folders)
Box   1  
"Bennie Oosterbaan's University of Michigan 1948 Football Team and National Champions," 1998 1948-1998
Dental Career [series]

The Dentistry Career series pertains to research and development of the mandibular staple bone plate and its subsequent use, production and licensing. Publications include published journal articles related to the mandibular staple bone place procedure as well as unpublished articles and presentations about mandibular implants. Most of the published articles are written or co-written by Small. They are organized chronologically by date of publication. A collection of audio-visual material contains three folders of slides used for instructional lectures on the mandibular staple and nine videos on the procedure made between 1974 and 1993.

Box   2  
Mandibular Staple Documents 1979-1980
Box   2  
Brief Bibliography of the Fixed Mandibular Staple
Box   2  
Published Articles (one folder containing the following articles:)
Box   2  
"Teflon and Silastic for Mandibular Replacement: Experimental Studies and Reports of Cases Journal of Oral Surgery, Anesthesia and Hospital Dental Service, Vol. 22 1964
Box   2  
"Implantation of Threaded Stainless Steel Pins in the Dog Mandible," Journal of Oral Surgery, Vol. 27 1969
Box   2  
"Preliminary Report on Mandibular Staple Implant for Denture Prosthesis," Journal of Oral Surgery, Vol. 28 1970
Box   2  
"Mandibular Staple Bone Plate for the Atrophic Mandible," Bulletin, Sinai Hospital of Detroit, Vol. 21 1973
Box   2  
"Mandibular Staple Implant for an Atrophic Mandibular Ridge: Solving Retention Difficulties of a Denture Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, Vol. 32, No.5 1974
Box   2  
"The Mandibular Staple Implant for the Athrophic Mandible Journal of Biomedical Material Research, No. 5 1974
Box   2  
"Metal Implants and the Mandibular Staple Bone Plate," Journal of Oral Surgery, Vol. 33 1975
Box   2  
"Survey of Experiences with the Mandibular Staple Bone Plate," Journal of Oral Surgery, Vol. 36 1978
Box   2  
"Mandibular Staple Bone Plate: Long-term Evaluation of 250 Cases," Journal of the American Dental Association, 104 1982
Box   2  
"Reconstructive Prosthetic Surgery of Massive Craniofacial Injury," American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons 1983
Box   2  
"Mandibular Staple Bone Plate: Its Use and Role in Prosthetic Surgery," Journal of Head and Neck Pathology, Vol. 4 1985
Box   2  
"Prosthodontic Reconstruction with the Mandibular Staple Bone Plate," Dental Clinics of North America, 30 1986
Box   2  
"A Sixteen-year Evaluation of the Mandibular Staple Bone Plate, from Current Therapy," Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 44 1986
Box   2  
"The Fixed Mandibular Implant: A 6-Year Review," Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 51 1993
Box   2  
The Compression Staple or Fixed Mandibular Implant undated
Box   2  
The Fixed Mandibular Implant circa 1991
Box   2  
Mandibular Staple Bone Plate: a Multicenter Retrospective Review circa 1983
Hall Reconstructive Systems
Box   2  
Fixed Mandibular Implant (the Compression Staple) Surgical Technique 1987
Box   2  
Hall Reconstructive Systems Fixed Mandibular Implant (catalog and price list) 1988
Audio-Visual material
Box   2  
"A Variety of Implants and Failures"
Box   2  
"Best Demonstration from Early History" (2 folders)
Box   2  
Complications of the Mandibular Staple Bone Plate: Observations and Management January 1991 (U-matic)
Box   2  
Fixed Mandibular Implant: A Compression Staple 1988 (U-matic)
Box   2  
Fixed Mandibular Implant: A Compression Staple 1988 (VHS)
Box   2  
Mandibular Staple Bone Plate -- Clinical Evaluations 1979 (Betamax)
Box   2  
Mandibular Staple Bone Plate: Fastener System for the Atrophic Mandible 1974 (U-matic)
Box   2  
Mandibular Staple Bone Plate Clinical Evaluations 1979 (U-matic)
Box   2  
Mandibular Staple Bone Plate: Pre-Op, Operative procedure, Post-op 1981 (U-matic)
Box   2  
Prosthetic Protocol for the Mandibular Staple Bone Place, Parts I and II 1981 (U-matic)
Additional Descriptive Data
Related Material

Examples of Irwin Small's mandibular staple and related tools and equipment were donated by Small to the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry at the University of Michigan.