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Carl H. Gellenthien oral history collection

Identifier: HHC 137

Scope and Content

This interview with Dr. Carl H. Gellenthien (1900-1989) of Valmora, New Mexico, surveys his 62-year career as a New Mexican physician. A family practitioner in Mora County, for years the only physician in the county, Dr. Gellenthien was also Medical Director of Valmora Industrial [tuberculosis] Sanatorium for over thirty years. This interview surveys his life and career, but focuses particularly on his experiences as a tuberculosis patient himself at Valmora (1924-1925) and his years as director of the sanatorium.


  • 1984


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of print materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biography or History

Born November 22, 1900 in Chicago, Illinois, Carl Herman Gellenthien (1900-1989) attended medical school at the University of Chicago, College of Medicine. His medical career was placed on hold in 1924 after a self-diagnosis of tuberculosis in a school laboratory. It was Gellenthien's contraction of the disease that introduced him to the state of New Mexico, where he recovered for thirteen months at Valmora Industrial Sanatorium. Although he had planned on being a medical missionary in India, Gellenthien decided to complete his medical education and return to New Mexico. In 1927, he went back to Valmora to practice general medicine and to marry Alice Brown, the daughter of Dr. William T. Brown, the sanatorium's founder and medical director.

For more than sixty years, Dr. Gellenthien was a physician at Valmora, where he became medical director of the sanatorium on the death of Dr. Brown. Along the way he became a nationally recognized tuberculosis specialist. During his distinguished career, Dr. Gellenthien served as Medical Director of Valmora, President of the New Mexico Medical Society, Vice-President of the American Medical Association as well as President of the American Academy of Tuberculosis Physicians. In 1986, Dorothy Simpson Beimer wrote a book entitled, Hovels, Haciendas, and House Calls, documenting Gellenthien's lifelong relationship with tuberculosis. Carl Gellenthien died in 1989 in Scottsdale, Arizona.


1 oversized folder with two audio cassettes


The collection contains the final transcript, audio tapes from the December 18, 1984 interview with New Mexico doctor Carl Herman Gellenthien (1900-1989), and one black and white photograph.

Related Archival Material

Carl H. Gellenthien Collection (unprocessed). New Mexico Health Historical Collection. Valmora Industrial Sanatorium Records (unprocessed). New Mexico Health Historical Collection. American College of Chest Physicians [graphic]. PH114 New Mexico Health Historical Collection. Carl H. Gellenthien, M.D., (1900-1989) [graphic]. HHC 245PH 027 New Mexico Health Historical Collection. Valmora Industrial Sanatorium (Valmora, N.M.) [graphic]. PH 047 New Mexico Health Historical Collection.

Separated Material

The audio cassettes are stored in the Special Collections Annex.

Processing Information

Originally processed by Janet Johnson
Finding Aid of the Carl H. Gellenthien Oral History, 1984
Processed by Danielle Scott
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

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