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Belitsky, Tatiana (1906-1980) | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Belitsky, Tatiana (1906-1980)
Fuller Form: Tatiana D. Belitsky Barabash

Historical Note:

Tatiana Belitsky, neé Titova, was born in 1906 in Samara, Russia. After attending university in Russia, she enrolled in medical school in China. She married Benjamin Belitsky in 1923, and had a daughter, Augusta, in 1926. After her daughter was born, Tatiana decided to pursue dentistry instead of general medicine and enrolled in dental school in Harbin, China.

After graduating in 1931, the family moved to Shanghai where Belitsky worked as a dental surgeon. She divorved her husband in 1935, and after raising her daughter as a single mother for years, she married Serge Barabash in 1949.

While in Shanghai, in addition to having a private practice Belitsky served as a dental surgeon for students at the Aurora College for Women and the students and nuns at the Convent of the Sacred Heart. She even continued to provide dental care for the convent during World War II, when it was turned into an internment camp for religious persons.

In 1949, after the communist takeover in China, Belitsky began working in an International Refugee Organization camp for White Russians in the Philippines while waiting for a visa to emigrate to the United States. In August of 1950, Belitsky traveled to San Francisco, where she began looking for work in the dental field.

While Belitsky had plenty of experience and letters of recommendation, the Department of Health would not allow her to use her foreign license or test for an American license unless she reenrolled in dental school. As a result, Belitsky was forced to take a lesser position as a dental technician at Pacific Dental Lab in San Francisco, where she worked for 15 years.

Sources: Augusta Prewett-Gunn

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