An Interview with Arthur F. Kleifgen, November 13, 1974

An Interview with Arthur F. Kleifgen, November 13, 1974



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An Interview with Arthur F. Kleifgen

at MD Anderson

Video Profiles with Don Macon

November 13, 1974

Arrival at MD Anderson, Titles and Responsibilities

A: Overview

Story Codes

A: Joining MD Anderson; A: The Administrator;

00:00:29 - Start of video: Arthur “Art” Frederick Kleifgen came to MD Anderson September 2, 1947 from Rochester Minnesota. Summary of Mr. Kleifgen’s current titles & responsibilities, which includes administration of the Anderson Mayfair Apartment Hotel, and the unique Mayfair experience is given.

Education and Career Progression to and in the Hospital/Hotel Business

A: Professional Path

Story Codes

A: Personal Background; C: Evolution of Career;

00:05:22 – Arthur “Art” Frederick Kleifgen was born in Minneapolis Minnesota in 1912, attended Military High School, and then Military College at St. Thomas College in St. Paul Minnesota. Following college Mr. Kleifgen worked in the life insurance business, was transferred to Rochester Minnesota and handled the insurance & annuity program for the Kahler Corporation, which operated the hybrid Kahler (Grand) Hotel & Mayo Hospital and other hospitals and hotels in Rochester. After World War II, Kahler Corporation President Roy Watson asked Kleifgen to remain with the company, so Kleifgen started as a hotel clerk in the Kahler Hotel and then continued work at the Colonial Hospital (renamed Rochester Methodist Hospital, then Mayo Clinic Hospital, Methodist Campus).

Introduction to Future Wife Mille and Their Friendship with Dr. R. Lee Clark and Wife Dr. Bertha Margaret Clark (nee Davis)

A: Personal Background

Story Codes

A: Influences from People and Life Experiences; C: Giving Recognition;

00:07:48 - Met future wife “Millie” (Mildred Gwendolyn Hovig, born in Delavan, Minnesota), who was a nurse with anesthesiologist Doctor John S. Lundy in the “local room” (blood, blood donation), when donating blood. Mr. Kleifgen initially met Dr. R. Lee Clark in the late 1930’s while selling life insurance and again through Millie’s work with Dr. Clark and his future wife aesthesiologist Bertha Margaret Clark (nee Davis), MD. At the time Dr. R. Lee Clark was an assistant to famous surgeon Dr. Claude F. Dixon at the Mayo Clinic. The Kleifgens were married in 1940 went to Jackson Mississippi on their honeymoon, where they joined friends Dr. R. Lee & Mrs. Clark on a trip to New Orleans.

Dr. R. Lee Clark’s Visits to the Mayo Clinic, Vision for a Cancer Center and Mr. Kleifgen’s Early Work at MD Anderson

A: Joining MD Anderson/Coming to Texas

Story Codes

C: Portraits; C: Giving Recognition; C: Leadership; A: Joining MD Anderson; A: The Administrator;

00:12:47 – Recollections of Dr. R. Lee Clark’s visits to the Mayo Clinic and The Colonial Hotel in July 1946 and 1947, Dr. Clark’s performance of surgeries with famous thoracic surgeon Dr. O.T. “Jim” Clagett, and Dr. Clark’s vision of a leading cancer treatment center.

After Dr. R. Lee Clark succeeded interim director Dr. E. W. Bertner in August 1946 at MD Anderson, Mr. Kleifgen’s agreed to join the staff at MD Anderson and recounted his responsibility for the organization and development of services for physicians similar to programs (e.g. insurance and pension plans) for staff at the Mayo Clinic to attract outstanding specialists to MD Anderson.

Impressions of, and Facilities Expansion at, MD Anderson’s Original Baker Estate Location

B: MD Anderson Past

Story Codes

B: Building/Transforming the Institution ; B: Fundraising, Philanthropy, Donations, Volunteers; C: Giving Recognition;

00:18:30 – Mr. Kleifgen provides a descriptive “tour” of the grounds and facilities at the original Baker Estate location. He then discusses the acquisition of surplus barracks buildings from Camp Wallace, funding work with Mr. James Anderson (nephew of Monroe Dunaway Anderson)/MD Anderson Foundation, redesigned by MacKie and Kamrath architecture firm and reconstructed at the Baker Estate by the W. S. Bellows Construction Company.

New MD Anderson Facilities within the Texas Medical Center

B: Institutional Change

Story Codes

B: Building/Transforming the Institution; C: Giving Recognition; B: Fundraising, Philanthropy, Donations, Volunteers; B: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Religion;

00:25:38 – In 1947, Dr. R. Lee Clark wanted Mr. Kleifgen to take over management of the Annex Building, which opened September 15, 1947, was used as MD Anderson’s first outpatient facility, and was donated by Mrs. Lamar Fleming, wife of Lamar Fleming, who with Will Clayton were partners with M.D. Anderson at Anderson, Clayton & Company in the cotton business. Mr. Kleiggen later developed, with social services director Edna Wagner, the Holman Street Annex, which was originally a segregated facility for African American patients.

Construction of the New Building in the Texas Medical Center, and Logistics of Moving Patients to it

B: Building the Institution

Story Codes

A: The Administrator; B: Building/Transforming the Institution; C: Giving Recognition; B: Obstacles, Challenges;

00:27:22 – Met with architects and discussed plans for the new Texas Medical Center building in October 1947, after completion of plans, December 22, 1950 ground was broken on the new MD Anderson facility in the Texas Medical Center. March 19, 1954 moved first patient into the new building. As Administrator of the Patient Care Division, Mr. Kleifgen recalls working with Assistant Director (retired brigadier general) Dr. Heflebower and the logistics of, various community participants in, moving patients from the existing temporary hospital buildings to the new building at theTexas Medical Center.

Overview of New MD Anderson Building at The Texas Medical Center and Brief Discussion of Subsequent Expansions

B: Building the Institution

Story Codes

B: Building/Transforming the Institution; C: Giving Recognition;

00:30:24 - Overview of original MD Anderson “T-shaped” building at the Texas Medical Center, and departments within it is given. The nursing wing, which provided care for radiology patients, was designed per the plan of radiologist Dr. Gilbert H. Fletcher.

Subsequent additions to the original MD Anderson facilities at The Texas Medical Center are discussed, beginning with a million dollar building expansion in 1956, the Lutheran Hospital Wing, expanded clinic facilities, library, office space, etc.

00:34:53 Video info & credits

00:35:08 End of video

An Interview with Arthur F. Kleifgen, November 13, 1974