William J. Mills, Jr. papers

Guide to the William J. Mills, Jr. papers
circa 1941-2005


Collection number: HMC-1214.
Creator: Mills, William J., 1918-2011.
Title: William J. Mills, Jr. papers.
Dates: circa 1941-2005.
Volume of collection: 25 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Collection summary: Papers of an orthopedic doctor in Alaska who conducted research on cold injury, including frostbite and hypothermia.

Biographical note:
Dr. William J. Mills, Jr. was born to William and Rose Mills in San Francisco in 1918. He graduated high school in 1936 and began studying anthropology and zoology at the University of California at Berkeley. After graduating, he enlisted in the Navy and served as a commissioned ensign during World War II from 1942 to 1945. During the Solomon Islands Campaign he sustained two open fractures to his legs and had to have one of his legs amputated. While he was recovering, he was accepted into Stanford Medical School and graduated in 1949. While completing his residency in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he became engaged to Elaine Nagelvoort. Mills took a job as a cannery doctor in Bristol Bay, Alaska, before returing to Michigan to get married. After completing his residency in Orthopedics, Mills and his family moved to Anchorage, where he opened an orthopedics practice. In addition to his practice he held clinics for children with physical disabilities throught Alaska. Soon after moving to Alaska, he retired from the Navy and was commission full lieutenand in the Navy Medical Department, U.S. Navy Reserve, eventually attaining the rank of rear admiral. In 1966, Dr. Mills volunteered for service in the Vietnam War and served as the Chief of Orthopedics at the Naval Hospital in Danang. After returning from Vietnam, he spent a year at Vanderbitl University in Tennessee on a grant to study cerebral palsy and then worked for the Alaska Crippled Children’s Center caring for children with cerebral palsy and former polio patients.

Throughout his career, Dr. Mills had an interest in cold injury, including frostbite, hypothermia, and immersion injury. He was a consultant to NASA on cold injury. He started a frostbite program at the University of Alaska Anchorage using grant funding and used some of the funding to develop high-altitude research camps on Denali. He developed a system of care for freezing injury that became the leading treatment protocol for these injuries. He taught courses in thermal injury and cold physiology for the UAA School of Nursing and Health Sciences and volunteered as team physician for the UAA athletic teams.

Dr. Mills died in Anchorage on December 4, 2011.

Collection description:
The collection consists of materials related to Dr. William J. Mills’s medical career and research. The collection includes correspondence, which is mostly professional  but also includes a small amount of personal correspondence; writing files and preseantations, including published articles by mills, drafts, notes for specific articles, and correspondence concerning particular writing projects and presentations; files related to the Center for High Latitude Health Research and Mill’s employment with the University of Alaska Anchorage, including the center’s reresearch on the health effects of climbing Denali; files related to Mills’s consulting work with the United States military; files related to organizations and conferences in which Mills participated; subject and research files including those concerning frostbite, hypothermia and other cold injuries, as well as other issues related to orthopedics; photographs and slides related to cold injuries and orthopedics; patient case files; and video and audio recordings of Mills’s lectures and presentations.

Arrangement: Materials in the collection are arranged by type of material

Digitized copies: This collection has not been digitized. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Digital materials: The digital contents of this collection are not available online. Access may only be provided on-site in the Archives research room. For more information about potential distance access to digital records, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Access restrictions: The collection contains sensitive medical information, please contact the Archives prior to requesting materials.

Use restrictions: Some materials in this collection contain sensitive medical information. Photography of these materials is forbidden, and copies made of restricted material will be redacted.

Rights note: Archives and Special collections owns copyright to materials created by Dr. William J. Mills, Jr. Materials not created by Dr. Mills may be subject to copyright not held by the Archives.

Preferred citation: William J. Mills, Jr. papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Works used in preparation of inventory:

“In Memory of William J. Mills, Jr.” http://janssenfuneralhomes.com/memsol.cgi?user_id=531242

Separated materials: Published materials have been removed from the collection and selected items have been added to the Library’s Rare Books collection.

Related materials: Additonal collections related to health and medicine in Alaska can found in our Medicine and health collections topic guide.

Acquisition note: The collection was donated to the Archives by Dr. Mills’s wife Elaine Mills, and a deed of gift was signed in 2015.

Processing information: This collection was described by Gwen Higgins in 2017.

Container list:

Box Description
1-2 Correspondence
2-5 Writings and presentations by Dr. Mills. Includes: published articles by Mills, notes and drafts for specific articles, correspondence with publishers, speeches, and presentation slides.
5-6 Center for High Latitude Health Research files. Includes: correspondence, reports, research data, lists of mountaineering gear and photographic slides related to the Center for High Latitude Health Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), as well as files related to Dr. Mills’s employment at UAA.
7-8 Military consulting files. Includes: correspondence, reports, plans, memoranda, and photographs relating to Dr. Mills’s service as a consultant in cold weather medicine for the United States military.
8-9 Organization and conference files. Includes: correspondence, notes, and programs relating to organizations and conferences in which Mills participated.
10-15 Research and subject files. Includes notes, articles, and research data about frostbite, hypothermia, immersion injury, and other cold injuries, as well as other medical topics, including orthopedics and sports medicine.
15-21, 22-24 Photographic materials. Includes: photographs (slides, prints, and negatives), primarily of cold injuries, like frostbite, hypothermia, and immersion injury and the treatment thereof. Some cold injury photographs are accompanied by patient case files. Boxes 23-25 contain oversize prints of frostbite photographs used in an exhibit. There are also photographs of other orthopedic conditions.
21 Patient case files.
5 Audiocassettes: Hypothermia, Dr. Martin Neimeroff “Cold H20 Drowning” (2 cassettes), Bill Mills Tapp Nuuk talk.
5 VHS tapes: “Long-term Sequelae of Cold Injury: Diagnosis and Management;” “Fluroscan Imaging Systems;” Dr. Mills “SF-8-200 Freezing Injury” (Super VHS); “William Mills Tape #4. Survival Series: 1. Hypothermia, 2. Cold Water Drowning, 3. Sea Survival, 4. Shore Survival” (master and copy); “Cold Injury” Dr. Mills Lecture for NS 661 April 21, 1992 Tape #5;” “Cold Injury” Dr. Mills Lecture for NS 661 April 21, 1992; “Cold Injury: Diagnosis and Management of Long Term Sequelae;” “The Rescue;” “Cold Injury: Clinical Consensus Meeting;” “Cold Weather Injuries” Presented by William J. Mills, Jr, MD. VA Puget Sound Health Care System-Seattle Division, 1997; Distance Education Operations Dr. Mills “Hypothermia/Frostbite,” 1992; “Frostbite” rough cut
Reels 1-12 Film reels: U.S. Army and Air Force freezing injury films, Bethel Orthopedic Clinic, University of Washington Pressure Measurement film.


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