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William L. Minear oral history collection

Identifier: HHC61

Scope and Content

The oral history with Dr. William L. Minear (1910-1994) of Albuquerque, New Mexico, focuses on his thirty years of practice as an orthopedic surgeon in New Mexico. After serving as the medical director of the Carrie Tingley Hospital for Crippled Children in Hot Springs (Truth or Consequences), New Mexico from 1947 to 1956, he established a private practice in Albuquerque for an additional twenty years. Dr. Minear was one of the pioneer orthopedic surgeons of the state. In this interview he discusses his personal and private backgrounds, including his five years of practice as a general practitioner in rural Arizona; his experiences at the hospital in Hot Springs and as a private practitioner in Albuquerque; the development of his specialty in New Mexico from his arrival up to the recent past as well as the birth of the University of New Mexico Medical School.


  • 1985

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public and available 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.


1 oversized folder and four audio cassette tapes


This collection documents the professional career and educational background of Albuquerque orthopedic surgeon Dr. William L. Minear (1910-1994). The material includes the draft and final transcript of the 1985 oral history interview with Dr. Jake Spidle and the audio cassettes from the interview.

Related Archival Material

Clyde W. Tombaugh Papers, 1908-2000. Ms 0407 Archives and Special Collections Department, New Mexico State University Library. William L. Minear, M.D., Ph.D., (1910-1994) [graphic]. HHC15PH 007 New Mexico Health Historical Collection. William L. Minear Papers. HHC15 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

Audio tapes are stored in the Special Collection Annex.

All photographs have been placed in the Photograph Collection. HHC61.PH 233.


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

The materials were processed by Janet Johnson.
Inventory of the William L. Minear Oral History, 1985
Processed by Danielle Scott
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