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Frederick Lee Liebolt Papers

Identifier: MC 1369

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes materials relating to personal, professional and social aspects of Liebolt's life. He collected genealogical materials on his paternal line, the Liebolts, and his mother's family, the Swigerts. He maintained records of his military service, both those pertaining to his active duty as a surgeon during World War II and those relating to his postwar service in the army reserve. Throughout his life he kept most of his correspondence, personal and professional. Liebolt's interest in theater and the ballet are reflected through materials on prominent New York play producer Blevins Davis, Eugenia's cousin and a close friend of President Harry Truman. Liebolt's involvement in New York social life resulted in his accumulation of a large quantity of materials pertaining to social organizations and social functions. An active innovator and writer in the field of orthopedic surgery, he maintained extensive research files. Finally, in the course of a career spanning almost half a century Liebolt treated over ten thousand patients.

The collection includes a wide variety of materials, ranging from letters, telegrams, and postcards to more exotic materials such as Ediphone wax cylinders and human bones. The collection contains several Scrapbooks dating from his college career, as well as Scrapbooks on the Liebolt and Swigert families. He maintained a diary during his years in college and kept appointment books during his career as a surgeon and after his retirement. The collection includes almost nine hundred photographs, as well as photo albums. They include family photos, ranging from his grandparents, parents, and siblings, to his families with wives Eugenia and Karen; formal portraits of Liebolt; photos of Liebolt during his military service and career as a physician; and Liebolt at professional conferences and social functions. The research files contain additional photographs, x-rays, and over one thousand slides. The collection contains a limited number of audio and visual materials, including cassette tapes, Ediphone wax cylinders, Dictaphone sheets, and film. Finally, the collection contains several artifacts, including Liebolt's LL.D. hood; surgical instruments used and invented by Liebolt; and human bones used by Liebolt in teaching classes.


  • 1905-1996


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Use Information

Restrictions Apply: For reasons of patient confidentiality, Series 4 and 5, containing Liebolt's research files and the medical records of his patients, are restricted for 75 years from their creation. His appointment books are similarly restricted. Researchers desiring to view the materials in these series must obtain the permission of the head of the Special Collections Division.

No Interlibrary Loan.

Standard Federal Copyright Laws Apply (U.S. Title 17).

Biographical Note

Frederick Lee Liebolt was born in Maquon, Illinois, on August 10, 1905, the son of Joseph Lee Liebolt and Catherine Swigert Liebolt. Soon afterwards the Liebolt family moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas. Frederick attended University High School, and then college at the University of Arkansas. He graduated in 1925 at the age of nineteen, the youngest student to graduate from the university. Too young to enter medical school, Liebolt attended graduate school at the University of Kansas in Lawrence during the 1925-1926 academic year. He began medical school at Washington University in St. Louis in September, 1926, graduating as an M.D. in June 1930. After serving as an intern in hospitals in St. Louis and Kansas City in 1930-1932, Liebolt received an orthopedic internship at the New York Orthopedic Hospital in 1932. The internship began his lifelong residence in New York City. In 1934 he became an instructor of anatomy at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. He completed his doctorate in medical science at Columbia in 1937. In addition to Columbia, Liebolt began teaching at Cornell University Medical College and the School of Physical Therapy of the New York Hospital in 1938.

In May, 1935, Liebolt married Eugenia Davis of Kansas City. Their only child, Frederick Lee III, was born in June, 1941. Liebolt's career as an orthopedic surgeon in New York was interrupted in 1943 when he was drafted into the armed services. He elected to join the United States Army Air Force. Stationed at the AAF Regional and Convalescent Hospital in Coral Gables, Florida, he served as the hospital's chief of orthopedic service from September, 1943, to July, 1946. After his release from active duty, Liebolt resumed his medical practice and teaching duties in New York.

Liebolt developed several important innovations to orthopedic surgical equipment. He wrote numerous articles on orthopedic surgery. In September, 1947, he and a team of six other surgeons conducted the first televised operation for members of the American College of Surgeons. His skill earned him a reputation in the profession; he attracted several distinguished clients, including Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. He and his wife were active in New York society.

Liebolt was an active member of professional organizations, notably the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the American Orthopedic Association, and the medical societies of the state and county of New York. Liebolt resigned his position in the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in January, 1947, but remained head of the Department of Orthopedics and associate professor of clinical surgery at Cornell University Medical College; attending surgeon in charge of orthopedics at the New York Hospital; and professor of anatomy at the Ithaca College School of Physical Therapy. He resigned his position at Ithaca in 1953.

Though a resident of New York, Liebolt retained close ties with Arkansas, especially the university in Fayetteville. In 1948 the University of Arkansas bestowed upon him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, and Governor Ben Laney of Arkansas named him an Arkansas Traveler, which authorized Liebolt to serve as a good-will ambassador from the state. In that capacity he attended the inauguration of Dwight D. Eisenhower as president of Columbia University in October, 1948. In 1973 the University of Arkansas named Liebolt a distinguished alumnus. In 1981 he established the Frederick Lee Liebolt Endowed Chair of Premedical Sciences at the University of Arkansas.

In 1959 Frederick and Eugenia were divorced, and in 1960 he married Karen Gamble Miles, daughter of Bertin C. Gamble, chairman of the board of the Gamble-Skogmo, Inc. merchandising firm. With Karen, he had two children: Karen Lee, born in 1961; and Jerry Lee, born in 1964. The marriage ended in divorce in 1969; he did not remarry.

In January, 1962, Liebolt moved into an apartment suite in the Imperial House which served first as his office and later as his residence. In 1969 the Phi Beta Pi medical fraternity named him Man of the Year. In 1975 he retired from his teaching and surgical duties at Cornell and the New York Hospital, but continued to serve as a consultant. In 1976 he was named an honorary member of the staff of the New York Hospital.

After retirement Liebolt directed his energy into patriotic, political and social organizations, joining the Society of Colonial Wars, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Sons of the Revolution. He joined the national Republican Party in 1977; he remained a member of that party the rest of this life. After a brief illness, Liebolt died at the New York Hospital on August 1, 1996, nine days short of his ninety-first birthday.


164.6 Linear Feet (211 boxes)

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged and described in six series.

  1. Series 1. Family Materials
  2. Series 1. Subseries 1. Frederick Lee Liebolt Personal Files
  3. Series 1. Subseries 2. Family Correspondence, Genealogy and Other Materials
  4. Series 2. General Files
  5. Series 2. Subseries 1. General Correspondence
  6. Series 2. Subseries 2. Subject Files
  7. Series 3. Images and Scrapbooks
  8. Series 3. Subseries 1. Scrapbooks and Photo Albums
  9. Series 3. Subseries 2. Photographs, Postcards and Slides
  10. Series 4. Research Materials
  11. Series 4. Subseries 1. Research Files
  12. Series 4. Subseries 2. Slides
  13. Series 5. Medical Records
  14. Series 5. Subseries 1. Appointment and Account Books
  15. Series 5. Subseries 2. Patient Files
  16. Series 6. Oversize Materials

Acquisition Information

The Frederick Lee Liebolt Papers were donated to the University, according to the terms of his will, on August 1, 1997.

Processing Information

Processed by Todd E. Lewis; completed in June 1998. Materials originally stored in Cabinets 1-7 were transferred to boxes (153-211). by Katrina Windon and Elysa Barton in November 2018.

Frederick Lee Liebolt Papers: Personal and Professional Papers
Todd E. Lewis
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Department Repository

University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville AR 72701 United States
(479) 575-8444