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Lovelace Foundation Records

Identifier: HHC236

Scope and Content

The records document the Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research from its beginnings in 1947 through the early 1990s when the clinical component was sold. The bulk of the records date from 1960 through 1989.


  • 1953-1998
  • Majority of material found in Placeholder Unit Date Text

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 / History

The Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research (LFMER) had its start in Fort Sumner, New Mexico in 1906 when Dr. William Randolph Lovelace arrived to practice medicine while seeking a cure for his pulmonary tuberculosis. In 1913, Dr. Lovelace moved to Albuquerque where he hoped to build the first southwest multi-specialty group practice. By the time his nephew, William Randolph Lovelace II, joined him in 1947, Lovelace Clinic, as it was now known, had twelve physicians and an ever-expanding patient population. Dr. Lovelace II, a well-known researcher in the field of aviation medicine and chief of surgery at Mayo Clinic, came to Albuquerque to emulate the Mayo model by establishing a medical foundation that would provide patient care and medical education while conducting a research program to enhance medical knowledge.

LFMER, organized in 1947 as a non-profit corporation with Lovelace Clinic as its base, continued to expand and to change the delivery of healthcare in New Mexico. It made a practice to hire physicians trained in the medical subspecialties who were graduates of the “best” medical institutions rather than general practice doctors. In 1973 the Lovelace Health Plan was started, the first HMO in New Mexico. In 1975, LFMER established a satellite clinic in Rio Rancho, the first such component in New Mexico. In 1985, satellite operations expanded to Santa Fe.

In 1947, the research arm of LFMER was started by Dr. Lovelace II who hired Dr. Clayton “Sam” White to be the research director. Soon Dr. White won consulting contracts with airlines and Air Force testing centers to perform physical examinations of pilots. This work helped lead to LFMER’s selection as the center for conducting the basic medical screening for 1958 Project Mercury astronauts. Dr. White initiated several projects including work in laminography and radioisotope studies. And it was Dr. White again who engineered LFMER’s first major contract effort with the Atomic Energy Commission in 1951 to establish a blast and shock biology program. When Dr. Lovelace II was killed in 1965, Dr. White was selected as his successor as president of LFMER. Until his resignation in 1974, Sam White directed the research program, which included a multi-million-dollar enterprise in the field of inhalation toxicology involving the evaluation of clinical effects of inhaled radioactive materials.

From its start as Lovelace Clinic until the Lovelace entities were sold, the Lovelace name stood for innovations in clinical care in New Mexico and LFMER was the impetus behind some of the most important research in blast biology and inhalation toxicology in the world. Today, the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, offspring of LFMER, continues medical research in the areas of asthma, emphysema, lung cancer, inhalation toxicology, aerosol science, bronchitis, and allergies.


24 cubic feet


This collection contains records from the Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research (LFMER) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The non-profit organization encompassed the Lovelace Clinic, the Bataan-Lovelace Hospital and various research and medical education functions. Lovelace Clinic and the hospital were sold in the 1990s and LFMER is now the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.

Related Material

The New Mexico Health Historical Collection holds twenty-five oral histories that relate to Lovelace Foundationl In addition, NMHHC holds the Clayton S. White Papers.

Processing Information

Janet Johnson initially processed the material. Peggy McBride, Alex Cosby, Alex Lopez, and Consuelo Salazar completed the processing.
Finding Aid of the Lovelace Foundation Records, 1953-1998
Edited Full Draft
The finding aid was prepared by Peggy McBride.
© 2009
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

MSC09 5100 , NM P: 505.272.9896
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque New Mexico 87131 United States