Skip to main content

New Mexico State Medical Society records

Identifier: HHC 1

Scope and Content

This collection contains the organizational records of the Las Vegas Medical Society and the New Mexico State Medical Society beginning with its inception in 1881 up to the current newsletters. Included are the financial records, membership roosters, minutes, legal papers, correspondence, newsletters and publications from the organization. Also documented are the financial records for the Women’s Auxiliary to the Bernalillo County Medical Society and the programs from the annual meetings of the New Mexico State Medical Society.


  • 1881-2006
  • Majority of material found in 1881-2006

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions


Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of print material allowed for research purposes. Audio tapes may not be duplicated. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Agency History

Established in 1882, the New Mexico Medical Society sought to distinguish legitimate medical professionals from the “charlatans, quacks, and pretenders” prevalent in frontier medical practice. Originally named the Las Vegas Medical Society, the organization devoted its efforts to the professionalization of the medical community in Las Vegas and to the dissemination of information amongst its members. According to the original constitution and by-laws drafted on January 28, 1882, the organization additionally aimed at establishing professional solidarity and cooperation in the medical community. Early membership was limited, due in part to the strict requirements of membership, namely a medical degree from an accredited medical school. Meetings were informal and often reflected the social aspect of the grouping. At the meetings, members would present papers on a variety of topics that focused on surgical procedures and diseases and acted as a frontier version of continuing education. These presentations became a fixed part of the medical society meetings. The Las Vegas Medical Society evolved into the medical authority in the community and issued statements regarding public health concerns and the construction of a hospital in the area.

On November 14 of 1885, the Las Vegas Medical Society reorganized as the New Mexico State Medical Society in an effort to address state-wide medical issues rather than narrowly focusing on Las Vegas. Albuquerque and other New Mexican cities contributed doctors to the society. With the publication of the New Mexico Medical Journal and the growing regulations regarding licensure as well as an influx of new doctors in the area brought about more widespread interest in the group. The New Mexico State Medical Society demonstrated tremendous ability in the regulation and monitoring of its members. In 1904 new constitution and by-laws were established based on other state medical societies. The advent of tuberculosis into New Mexico drastically altered the medical community and brought an influx of patients and ailing physicians into the area. The New Mexico Society for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis was established to promote interest in the fight against tuberculosis and to protect New Mexicans from consumptive immigrants. The medical society also benefited from the wave of consumptive patients as it also brought talented physicians such as William Randolph Lovelace I, Lucien Rice and Meldrum Wylder and later Robert Cushing Derbyshire into the society. The New Mexican State Medical Society became the first society in the United States to elect a female president with the election of Evelyn Frisbie in 1915.

As the medical needs of New Mexico changed so did the society. In collaboration with the Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center of the University of New Mexico, the New Mexico State Medical Society began the Oral History Project in 1982. As part of the NMSU’s 100th Anniversary, oral histories of prominent doctors in New Mexico were recorded by Dr. Jake Spidle for the completion of Doctors of Medicine in New Mexico: A History of Health and Medical Practice, 1886-1986. The collection has grown to document 160 New Mexico physicians.


10 Cubic Feet


Documented in this collection is the organizational history of the New Mexico State Medical Society and the Las Vegas Medical Society. This collection contains the constitution and bylaws of the society as well as various financial and administrative records from the NMMS from 1881 to current.

Related Material

Woman’s Auxiliary to the Bernalillo County Medical Society Records

Separated Material

Spidle, Jake. Doctors of Medicine in New Mexico: A History of Health and Medical Practice, 1886-1986.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Peggy McBride.
Inventory of the New Mexico Medical Society Records, 1881-2006
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Peggy McBride and Laura Hurd
© 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center Repository

MSC 09 5100
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque New Mexico 87131 United States