Morrison studied dentistry in Steubenville, Ohio, 1848, apprenticing with two established dentists. Later formed a partnership with one of them for a travelling practice in the area. By 1857, moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and practiced dentistry with his brother William until 1861 or 1862. Then practiced in Paris for about a year, followed by six years in London. Returned to Missouri, practicing dentistry and improving dental equipment until his death, Dec. 1917. His first major contribution to dentistry was in 1871: developed and patented the first practical dental engine or power-driven dental tool. Patented an improved dental operating chair, which provided a wide range of movement, 1887.
Ten letters from London dentists to Morrison, a dentist and inventor, discussing his improved dental engine and improved dental chair. Eight letters are from Edwin Sercombe, with one from H. S. Garrett and another from Charles S. Tomes.
James Beall Morrison Correspondence, 1869-1873, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
00044201.jpg (AC Scan No. for letter reproduced in "History Wired")