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William L. Minear papers

Identifier: HHC 15

Scope and Content

Materials included in this collection are professional papers authored by Dr. Minear (1910-1994) between 1933 and 1990, engravings of the human palatine tonsil used to support his 1936 doctoral dissertation, and six black and white photographs. Also included are professional correspondence from 1953 and 1979, awards and appointments between 1979 and 1988, news clippings pertaining to the establishment of the Sierra County Arthritis Clinic from 1951 to 1952, and a copy of his 1956 scuba diving certificate.

Series I. Papers, 1933-1990

Series II. Personal 1948-1988

Series III. Photographs 1956-1958, undated

Series IV. Correspondence, 1953-1979

Series V. News Clippings, 1950-1952

Series VI. Miscellaneous, undated


  • 1933-1990

Access Restrictions

The collection is available to the public and open for research.

Copy Restrictions

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

Biography or History

William Loris Minear (1910-1994) was born into a family of homesteaders in Bismarck, North Dakota on March 18, 1910. Although the practice of medicine did not run in his family, Minear recalled entertaining medical curiosities at a young age by performing appendectomies on neighborhood cats.

Trading cats for human subjects, Minear attended the University of Washington and received his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine in 1931 and then attended medical school at Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, Minear supported himself by working the night shift at a mortuary. He graduated with his Ph.D. in 1936 and his M.D. in 1937. After graduation, Dr. Minear accepted a position teaching in anatomy at Stanford University. While en route to Stanford, Dr. Minear's train stopped in Tucson, Arizona. With only five dollars in his pocket, Dr. Minear decided to stay in Tucson instead of continuing to California due to his own health problems. By this time, Dr. Minear had developed arthritis and the Arizona climate provided relief from the pain.

In Arizona, Dr. Minear worked as a mining camp doctor in Copper Creek. After one year, the mine closed and Dr. Minear opened a general practice in Patagonia, Arizona. He remained at the practice until 1943. While in Arizona, Dr. Minear married his college sweetheart, Bergitte Bensen, who also worked as his nurse. In 1943, Dr. Minear decided to leave Arizona to pursue a residency in orthopedic surgery at the Mayo Clinic. However, while on route, Dr. Minear stopped at the Campbell Clinic at the University of Tennessee and decided to take his residency there. He remained at Campbell Clinic until 1946 when he received his Master of Science in Orthopedic Surgery. After his residency, Dr. Minear worked briefly in private practice in Seattle, Washington before returning to Tucson, Arizona where he remained until 1947.

In 1947, Dr. Minear became Chief Surgeon at Carrie Tingley Hospital for Crippled Children in Hot Springs (now Truth or Consequences), New Mexico. Dr. Minear worked at the hospital during the polio outbreaks of the 1950s when the hospital was so overcrowded patients had to sleep in the hallways. In addition to polio cases, the hospital also treated patients with tuberculosis, cerebral palsy and congenital deformities. During his tenure, the hospital received the polio vaccine and Dr. Minear wrote a pamphlet on the distribution of polio cases in New Mexico. After nine years with Carrie Tingley Hospital, Dr. Minear left Hot Springs to open a private practice in Albuquerque. He remained in Albuquerque until his retirement in 1975.

After retirement, Dr. Minear continued his hobbies of scuba diving and insect collecting. In 1987, Dr. Minear compiled a history of the Carrie Tingley Hospital entitled, "Carrie Tingley Hospital for Crippled Children: The Founders and the First Two Decades." Included in the history are the minutes for the Carrie Tingley Hospital Board of Directors, information on the surgeons and directors of the facility and papers written by Dr. Minear and others regarding the hospital. Dr. Minear also worked with the University of New Mexico, Department of Anthropology until his death on May 7, 1994 at the age of 84.


7.5 linear inches (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection documents the professional career and educational background of Albuquerque orthopedic surgeon Dr. William L. Minear (1910-1994). The materials consist of professional papers including Dr. Minear's thesis and dissertation with the supporting engravings and his 1990 paper "Orthopedic Update." Other materials include black and white photographs, news clippings concerning the Sierra County Arthritis clinic, correspondence, and a listing of the professional memberships and awards and achievements.

Related Archival Material

Clyde W. Tombaugh Papers, 1908-2000. Ms 0407 Archives and Special Collections Department, New Mexico State University Library. William L. Minear Oral History. HHC61FL1281 New Mexico Health Historical Collection. Orthopedic Surgery in New Mexico: A History. FL 1076 New Mexico Health Historical Collection. Collected Papers on Carrie Tingley Hospital, Carrie Tingley Hospital for Crippled Children: The Founders and the First Two Decades. Box 12 01-069 New Mexico Health Historical Collection.

Separated Material

William L. Minear, M.D., Ph.D., (1910-1994) [graphic]. HHC15PH007 New Mexico Health Historical Collection.


Contact Information

  1. UNM Health Sciences Center
  2. Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, MSC09 5100, 1 University of New Mexico
  3. New Mexico Health Historical Collection
  4. Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
  5. Phone: 505-272-8873
  6. Fax:
  7. Email:
  8. URL:


Processing Information

Processed by Janet Johnson. Reorganized by Peggy McBride and Danielle Scott in 2006.
Guide to the William L. Minear papers, 1933-1990
Processed by Janet Johnson. Reorganized by Peggy McBride and Danielle Scott.
Language of description
Script of description
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