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Donald E. Kilgore oral history collection

Identifier: HHC 60

Scope and Content

The collection is divided into 4 overlapping series that are a result of the Spidle oral history, which led to Dr. Kilgore's donation of the transcript of the Weitekamp interview and two public radio programs' audio tapes. The remaining materials are miscellaneous newspaper clippings, and a CV.

Series I. Oral History with Jake Spidle, 1985: This series contains the final transcript of the oral history, and 4 audio tapes. The Spidle interview surveys Dr. Kilgore's life and his career as an otolaryngologist and longtime leader of The Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Kilgore came to the growing Lovelace Clinic in 1953, attracted by its reputation for leadership in the field of aviation medicine, and gave that institution nearly four decades of service before his retirement in 1992. A critical figure in the institution's history, Dr. Kilgore served as President and Chief Executive of The Lovelace Medical Center in the period 1969-1975. Among the subjects discussed in the interview are Dr. Kilgore's personal and professional backgrounds; the prominent figures and special programs of The Lovelace Clinic in the 1950's; the development of the institution through that period and up through the 1970's; relations within the Albuquerque medical community; and the birth of the UNM School of Medicine.

Series II. Interview with Dr. Margaret A. Weitekamp, 1997: This series contains a copy of the transcript of an interview by Dr. Weitekamp, April, 1997, which was conducted as part of her research for her dissertation, "The Right Stuff, the Wrong Sex: The Science, Culture, and Politics of the Lovelace Woman in Space Program, 1959-1963." The interview focused on Dr. Kilgore's involvement with Dr. Randy Lovelace, the testing of women for fitness as astronauts, and Jackie Cochran's involvement with the program.

Series III. Sound Print Programs, 1997, n.d.: This series contains a transcript and an audio tape of the Sound Print program, "The First Astronauts." Also there is an audio tape of the Sound Print program, "After Dogs and Chimpanzees: The Early Space Program."

Series IV. Miscellaneous, 1964, 1977-1978, 1987, 1997, 2001: This series contains newspaper clippings, a memorandum and letter all relating to Dr. Kilgore's professional life. The clippings deal with managed care, the Lovelace Clinic and Dr. Kilgore's involvement with the CIA U-2 pilots.


  • 1964-2001

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

Donald Edgar Kilgore (1922-2011) was born in 1922 in Asheville, North Carolina. His father's business took the young family to both South and North Carolina, and to Texas during the Depression years. In the early 1930's, Kilgore and his brother stayed a year in an isolated Baptist boarding school in coastal North Carolina. When his parents finally settled in Detroit, the boys joined them and Kilgore spent his high school years there. He attended a junior college for two years and then joined the United States Navy in 1942 at the beginning of World War II. He was nineteen.

Kilgore's college years made him eligible to be an aviation cadet. He became a patrol plane commander and flew 81 combat and civic missions. After three years of wartime service, he returned to attend the University of Michigan. Upon graduation from medical school in 1950, Kilgore became an intern at a Detroit hospital. When the Korean War started in 1951, he volunteered and completed three more years in the Navy. In six years, he had seen service in two wars.

When he left the Navy, Kilgore realized that his two great loves, after his family, were medicine and flying. At that time the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico was the center of aviation medicine. He left his family in Rhode Island and came to New Mexico to interview for a position with the clinic. He decided during his one day in Albuquerque that Lovelace would be a good place to start his career. Dr. Kilgore came to the growing Lovelace Clinic in 1953 and gave that institution nearly four decades of service before his retirement in 1992. A critical figure in the institution's history, Dr. Kilgore served as President and Chief Executive of The Lovelace Medical Center in the period 1969-1975.


1 oversized folder, 4 audio cassettes

Language of Materials



This collection documents the professional life of Dr. Donald E. Kilgore (1922-2011) through two oral histories and miscellaneous materials. The Spidle oral history focuses on Dr. Kilgore's career as a physician, starting in 1953, with the many permutations of the Lovelace Clinic. The Weitekamp oral history and the two public broadcasting programs pertain to Dr. Kilgore's experiences with the first astronauts and the space program.

Related Archival Material

Eighty Years of Caring, 1922-2002: The Story of Lovelace Medical Center. WZ 70 L898 2001NMSW New Mexico HealthHistorical Collection Arthur J. Fischer Oral History. HHC91FL1046 NewMexico Health Historical Collection Clarence M. Kemper Oral History. HHC92FL1269 NewMexico Health Historical Collection Clayton S. "Sam" White Oral History. HHC94FL897New Mexico Health Historical Collection Jack D. McCarthy Oral History. HHC93FL1187 NewMexico Health Historical Collection Robert R. Secrest Oral History. HHC200FL893 NewMexico Health Historical Collection Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America's First Women in Space Program, by Margaret A. Weitekamp. TL 78985A1 W452004

Separated Material

Audio recordings are stored in the Special Collections Annex.

Kilgore photograph removed to Photograph Collection. PH 232. New Mexico Health Historical Collection.

Processing Information

Originally processed by Janet Johnson and reorganized by Peggy McBride.
Guide to the Donald E. Kilgore Oral History collection, 1964-2001
Processed by Peggy McBride
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