Nevada in Film

Over the years, Nevada has been a popular place for the filming of motion pictures. UNR, specifically, has been featured in a number of films. During the 1940s-1950s, the charming, traditional ‘academic’ style of campus buildings made the University of Nevada an ideal location for filming movies with campus settings. In that time, eight Hollywood films were shot on campus: Andy Hardy’s Blonde Trouble (1944), Margie (1946), An Apartment for Peggy (1948), Mother is a Freshman (1949), Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949), Captive City (1952), 5 Against the House (1955), and Hilda Crane (1956). From 1944-1948, the film studios utilized the university’s student body as a ready pool of extras. However, after 1948, due to the number of students cutting class, the studios were banned from using students as extras. With the new restrictions, Hollywood made only three more films. In 1954, the Board of Regents drafted a policy limiting future studios to shooting on campus only during university vacations.

Campus isn’t the only setting for films, though. One of the most famous films shot in Nevada was The Misfits. Filming took place in many prominent locations including Pyramid Lake, the Mapes Hotel, Harrah’s Casino, Misfits Flats, and on Virginia Street. Another film, The Winning of Barbara Worth (1926), was filmed on the Black Rock Desert and surrounding areas, including Devil’s Canyon and Paradise Valley.

For more information on the filming of The Misfits, please see our Library Guide The Misfits in Nevada.

New Exhibit Opening Soon!

Next week, beginning Monday, September 28, Special Collections will be opening a new exhibit based on one new manuscript collection, the Western Shoshone Defense Project Records. We’re very excited to be able to present these materials to the public and are working hard to prepare our exhibit.Exhibit Room-empty

The records of the Western Shoshone Defense Project were maintained by Carrie and Mary Dann, two traditional Western Shoshone ranchers living in northeastern Nevada. The Defense Project’s mission was to affirm Western Shoshone jurisdiction over Western Shoshone ancestral homelands by protecting, preserving, and restoring Shoshone rights and lands for present and future generations based on cultural and spiritual traditions. It was established in 1991 by the Western Shoshone National Council to provide support to Mary and Carrie Dann as they faced confiscation of their livestock which they grazed on Western Shoshone homelands without paying grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management.

WSDP PostcardThe exhibit will be available on the third floor of the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center at the Special Collections Department and will be up through March 18, 2016. Please contact the department if you have any questions. Email:; phone: 775/682-5665. Hope to see you soon!

Maya Miller Papers Now Available

Maya Miller

Maya Miller

Special Collections would like to announce that the Maya Miller Papers, Manuscript Collection 95-107, are now available to researchers. We thank the family’s Orchard House Foundation for its generous support in assisting us on this project.

Many Nevadans may remember Maya Miller as a political activist who worked for social justice especially for women in many areas of her life. Here is a short description of her work and a glimpse into what one will find in her papers.  She served as the Chairperson on the Board of Directors for the Las Vegas-based community development corporation, Operation Life from the mid-1970s through the early 1990s where she lobbied for the rights of Nevada’s welfare mothers. Continuing with her belief in working for social justice, Miller worked to promote the civil rights of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in Nevada as well as for the indigenous peoples of Nicaragua during the time of the Sandinista revolution in the 1980s, traveling to that country to help set up a Peace House.

Miller served in varying capacities with the national and Nevada League of Women Voters as well as with the Democratic Party and issues surrounding women and their role within the party. She may be best remembered, however, as being the first woman in Nevada since Anne Martin in 1920 to run for a seat in the U. S. Senate.  While she lost to then Lieutenant Governor Harry Reid in her 1974 race, her campaign revealed that there was support from a base of women’s electoral groups for her.

Kit Miller, Maya's daughter, views a box of the completed collection during a visit to Special Collections with staff members Jacque Sundstrand and Edan Strekal.

Kit Miller, Maya’s daughter, views a box of the completed collection during a visit to Special Collections with staff members Jacque Sundstrand and Edan Strekal.

The collection covers the years 1953-2003 and includes correspondence, speeches, campaign materials, news clips, reports, photographs, and audio/visual resources, with particular emphasis placed on Miller’s position as Chairperson on the Board of Directors for the Las Vegas-based community development corporation, Operation Life. Of particular interest are the oral history interviews conducted by Maya’s daughter, Kit Miller between 1993 and 1994.

View the online catalog record and accompanying guide to the contents for the Maya Miller Papers.

For those interested in seeing a selection of these materials, we have put together a webpage to highlight aspects of Maya Miller’s life and work taken from her papers. Here is a link to the digital collection website.

Visiting Us and Changes in Campus Parking

Changes have just occurred in your campus parking options which you will want to know about if you’re coming to use Special Collections, the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center (a.k.a. the library), or other facilities on campus.

Beginning June 1, the metered parking lot located just south of the 15th Street entrance and north of the Whalen Parking Complex is closed, permanently. This closure is due to the construction starting on a new building, the E. L. Weigand Fitness Center. The new fitness center takes the place of the Lombardi Recreation Center, which has outgrown its ability to handle the use from the increasing numbers of our student population.

Consequently, short-term hourly parking is now located on the top floor of the Brian Whalen Parking Complex at $1.50 per hour, with a four-hour maximum. For those needing daily parking, it is available on the top floor of the West Stadium Parking Complex which has access from North Virginia Street off of 16th Street. Visitor Parking Area Map June 2015

The new E. L. Weigand Fitness Center will be offering areas for weightlifting and training as well as fitness classes and activities, plus an indoor 1/8th mile running track. Three full-court gymnasiums will be available for basketball and other indoor multi-use court sports. The Wiegand Fitness Center’s projected opening date is early 2017.

We welcome this new fitness facility to fulfill the needs of our growing campus. But we will miss the view to the west out of the KC’s windows as well as complicating the parking situation in the short term for the users of Special Collections. We hope you continue to find your way to us!

Nevada Ghost Towns

This week we have a special post from our colleague, Erich Purpur, down in DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library. Enjoy!

DeLaMare's Google Earth InterfaceThe W.M. Keck Museum and DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library are housed in the historic Mackay Mines building on South Campus. Historically, the library and museum existed as supplementary resources to the Mackay School of Mines’ teaching and learning mission. Today, the two serve not only mining and geology related disciplines but the entire science & engineering community on campus. Nevada would not be what it is today without its long history of mining and this tradition is kept alive in the Keck museum. In fact, the mining industry is so integral to the state’s history it is written in the University of Nevada’s constitution that it must have a School of Mines. When museum director Garrett Barmore voiced a desire to usher in more interactive tools to complement the rich mining history exemplified in the museum, we at the DeLaMare Library took this opportunity to join forces. The idea was to use an existing large display environment at DeLaMare and through Google Earth to leverage and show off university resources related to the history of mining in Nevada. The Nevada Ghost town project was born. Due to the volatile nature of mining boom/busts from the mid 1800s through early 1900s, Nevada is littered with remnants of once thriving mining towns. Montello, NevadaDriven by potential fortunes to be made by mining gold, silver, copper, etc. towns literally popped up over night. Some struck it big while many others went bust and residents moved onto the next location. Many of these towns were quite rowdy and featured many saloons and brothels and the environment truly was that of the Wild West. Many stories came to light such as the meteoric rise and fall of Goldfield and Pioche being crowned “Boldest Town in the West” over other notorious frontier outposts such as Tombstone, AZ and Dodge City, KS. The display allows users to click on one of 37 significant towns to learn more about Nevada’s history. While many locations truly are ghost towns (population: 0), also featured are places whose population is much diminished from its heyday (ex: Virginia City) as well as Reno and Las Vegas. On a personal note, the project was very educational for me. As I am not a native Nevadan I know infinitely more about the state’s history than before. Also, a big thank you goes to UNR’s Special Collections department who has archived significant historic photo collection and by allowing us to publish the images made for a much richer experience. All images used are from Special Collections & University Archives. The Nevada Ghost Towns project is now being shown off daily in the DeLaMare Library’s atrium for your viewing and learning pleasure.

For more information on this project, please contact the DeLaMare Library.

Getting the Word Out About Our Political Collections

Jacque poses with 2 of the 3 panels.

Jacque poses with 2 of the 3 panels.

Through lobbyist and friend of Special Collections, Keith Lee, we heard last month that space might be available in the Legislative Building in Carson City to hang a display of some of our politically related materials. We had been wanting to find a way to tell people about the materials we collect and have for use by students and other researchers, and to also see about receiving additional donations of materials from former politicians or others who worked with political issues.

We had never thought about presenting an exhibit on our materials outside of the Special Collections Department. Usually we create exhibits on themes or special subjects for display in our department and/or around the Knowledge Center building here on campus.

Mr. Lee cautioned me that these spaces were spoken for quite early and we could be too late. But since the Legislature was in session, we had hopes. I traveled to Carson City and he introduced me to Robin Bates, the Assembly Sergeant at Arms, who oversaw the use of the wall space in the Legislative Building for displays and exhibits. Mr. Bates heard my thoughts behind our potential exhibit, and took me to the third floor where he showed me a corridor opposite a large meeting room. The meeting room was used by both Senators and Assembly members as well as a number of outside groups and individuals. And to my amazement he said we could use the entire wall–about 25 linear feet–for our exhibit!

Townsend Campaign Brochure

To paraphrase the line from the movie the Godfather: This was an offer I couldn’t refuse!

Back at work, I quickly went through a much expanded idea I had for what we might reproduce for this length of space. Where I had first thought we might have maybe three feet of wall space to hang a panel, I decided on three panels. Two of the panels would be as long as I could make them, about five feet each, and about three feet high and hang to the left of an elevator where the most blank wall space was. The smaller wall space was to the right of the elevator and would need to be about three feet long and about as high. In this way, anyone waiting for the elevator, or lingering in the corridor, could read the panels.

For quite a few weeks I reviewed all sorts of items in our manuscript and photograph collections.  The panels needed to be “just right,” to have not only have good content but also have a good design.  Our student workers assisted me with scanning the many pieces I choose and then I passed along to our designer Kristi Anderson.  We worked on my ideas, edited, thank goodness, by her professional eye.

Lingenfelter (Corky) Campaign Brochure

I’m happy to say that the three panels are now a reality in the Legislative Building’s third floor corridor, opposite room 3100. The panels each have a theme. Of the two larger panels, one is about campaigning for office. It displays an interesting collage of bumper stickers, lawn signs, advertisements for candidates, letters about raising money, photographs of candidates and their staff, as well as a rare voter’s 1864 Union Ticket with Abraham Lincoln’s name on it.

The second large panel is about the work that comes after someone is elected. It highlights the connections that politicians have with their constituents and with other politicians. It displays state budget information from 1935 and 1986 and letters from former governors. As well it highlights some of the people who gained higher offices at the federal level, many who rose from the ranks of local and state office holding.

The last panel shows a short history of women in Nevada’s politics.  Suffragette Anne Martin was the first woman to run from Nevada for the U. S. Senate in 1920, followed by Maya Miller in 1974. Neither were successful in gaining that office, but other women were and a few are included in this smaller panel.

I hope that if any of you are in Carson City during this legislative session, you’ll stop by and take a short trip to the third floor to take a look at our panels on the “Politics of Our Past.”  And if you have materials which might be donated to us, or know of others who do, please contact us!

Science History in Archives

Mention archives and often people think about the humanities and social sciences. Given its land-grant roots, however, it should be no surprise that University Archives preserves material about the University’s involvement in agriculture, astronomy, and other scientific endeavors.

Lake Tahoe Region Tree-Ring Borings

Lake Tahoe Region Tree-Ring Borings

Among Archives’ artifacts is a set of tree borings obtained from the Lake Tahoe region documenting that the current drought in the region is hardly a new concern. Back in the 1930s, George Hardman and Orvis Reil of the University of Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station conducted a multi-year study of precipitation via tree ring analysis in the Lake Tahoe area. Field workers for the project were obtained through the Nevada Emergency Relief Administration during the Great Depression. Tree borings were harvested at sites in the Charleston Mountains, Clear Creek Road, Franktown, Juniper Flat, Kingsbury Grade, and Washoe Grade. This project caught the attention of Henry A. Wallace, Director of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (1933-1940), who was interested in cyclical changes in climatic conditions. The Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation in Denver and the U. S. Forest Service, California Region, also wrote to the University to obtain a copy of the report: The Relation of Tree Growth to Stream Run Off in the Truckee River Basin. Archival records include the borings, correspondence, and raw data sheets.

1939 4-H Camp Attendees

1939 4-H Camp attendees during a tree identification session

University Archives also has many records from the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station, which was established in 1887. Its collection AC 0288, for example, includes several boxes of county farm maps providing crop inventories for the decade before World War II, including the names of farm owners and/or operators. Elsewhere in the same collection are reports on Nevada’s wartime agriculture and post-war production reports.

The history of Nevada’s 4-H Camp at Lake Tahoe is included among the many archival records for the Nevada Cooperative Extension Service. Scrapbooks and photographs capture the programming and recreational activities enjoyed by generations of young Nevadans from the 1930s to the present day. Projects such as insect study and tree identification were interspersed with summertime fun first at the Farm Bureau Camp in south Reno and later up at Lake Tahoe, where a permanent 4-H campsite was acquired in 1938. The photograph of children during a tree identification session is from a 1939 4-H Camp scrapbook (AC 0043).

On Orbit Nov 04 Cover

Representing the other end of the scientific spectrum, Archives holds material about the history of the Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center, along with a run of its publication OnOrbit. Records include an inventory of a time capsule to be opened in 2061.

These are just a few of the archival resources helping document the history of scientific pursuits at the University.

Project Archivist, Edan Strekal, Hired in March

Project Archivist Edan Strekal reviews manuscript collection with supervisor Jacque Sundstrand

Project Archivist Edan Strekal reviews manuscript collection with supervisor Jacque Sundstrand

We welcome another staff member to Special Collections this month. Edan Strekal recently was hired as Project Archivist to fill a new, temporary full-time position for 3-years, subject to funding.

As Project Archivist, Strekal will work under the supervision of Jacque Sundstrand, the Manuscripts & Archives Librarian, and be responsible for working on unprocessed manuscript collections for which we have received outside funding either through support from donors or from grants. For each collection, Strekal will determine its organization, process the contents, and create the intellectual access needed for discovery by users via our online catalog or through our website and the internet.

Previously, Strekal was working in Special Collections in a similar but part-time archival position. Due to the generosity of many who have given money to assist in the preparation of their donated collections as well as others supporting the work of the department, and successful grant applications, we have been able to create the Project Archivist position to assist us with making more collections available in a timely manner for our users.

Did Someone Hear a Wolf Howl?

UNR Baseball Media Guide Cover, 2001

UNR Baseball Media Guide Cover, 2001

2014 proved to be a banner year for University Archives in terms of acquiring Wolf Pack sports memorabilia. A blog about the unique Jake Lawlor Scrapbook was posted here in August 2014. Its call number is AC 0572, and it is now available for viewing in Archives.

Wolf Pack Homecoming, 1995

In the fall of 2014, Archives received a large transfer of material from Athletics Media Services with items about Wolf Pack sports from 1923-2014. The Nevada Athletics Media Services Records have the call number AC 0575. There is some administrative material, including plans for Legacy Hall and an interview of University President Joe Crowley about his service as National Collegiate Athletic Association President in 1993. Most of the collection, however, consists of game programs, media guides, and campus athletics publications such as Frontcourt Magazine.

The collection also includes 65 videocassettes, mostly of football games, from 1940-1997. Among them is the 1950 Nevada vs. Loyola game featuring Pat Brady’s NCAA record-setting 99-yard punt. While there is interest in having these videotapes digitized, the cost of digitizing videotapes is daunting. If you are interested in providing financial support for such a project, please let us hear from you!.

UNR Women's Tennis Team, 1980

UNR Women’s Tennis Team, 1980

Accompanying the print records was a large collection of vintage Wolf Pack sports photographs and slides. These include participants in over 15 sports, from baseball to wrestling. Here is an image the 1980 women’s tennis team.

Late in the year, Archives acquired a collection of thirteen original University of Nevada men’s basketball score books from Reno resident Harry Pykor. The score books are for varsity team games from 1919 through 1939.

Varsity Score books, 1920 and 1938-39

Varsity Score books, 1920 and 1938-39

While researchers can use the NewspaperArchive database or microfilm reels of Nevada newspapers to see coverage of men’s basketball games in the early twentieth century, flipping through the pages of these score books brings an added dimension to Nevada games played less than 30 years after the first basketball game in 1891 (Springfield, Massachusetts). The game sheets include the names of referees, timekeepers, and scorers, helping preserve the history of many who volunteered their time to support men’s basketball in Nevada.

The score books were discovered in a desk at an auction, so we are particularly happy that these original documents found their way to a permanent home in University Archives. It is a reminder for everyone to be on the lookout for historic items about the University and to consider placing them in Archives for use by future generations.

Canadian Filmmaker Hot on the Trail of Will James

Will James

Portrait of Will James

Sometimes you simply don’t know who may be wanting to use our manuscript collections, and it is a surprise when it turns out to be an international user. In October I was contacted by Canadian filmmaker Claude Gagnon who is working on additional research concerning cowboy writer and illustrator Will James, author of the book Smokey, the Cowhorse (1926), and other titles.

Will James was born Joseph-Ernest Dufault on June 6, 1892, at St. Nazaire de Acton in Quebec, Canada. His parents, Jean and Josephine Dufault were French. The family moved to Montreal where James spent his childhood. In 1907, at age fifteen, James left home for the Canadian west, later coming to the American west.  At one point he lived in the Washoe Valley after marrying Alice Conradt of Reno.

Will and Alice James

Will and Alice James in their cabin in Washoe Valley

Claude Gagnon, a respected filmmaker, is researching the earlier years of James’ life before he left Canada and is hoping to make a move about these years.  Gagnon is basically pursuing if the commonly held belief is true that Will James hid his earlier identity and was not in communication with his Canadian family. In order to continue his research he drove an RV from Montreal to the United States and has stopped to talk with people living in places where James lived as well as speaking with Will James authorities.  In November he arrived in Reno on our doorstep to review our Will James manuscript collections.  We have a great collection of research pulled together by Anthony Amaral for his biography done on James entitled Will James, the Gilt Edged Cowboy (Los Angeles, Westernlore Press, 1967), and from Alice Conradt James.

As part of his research and with the idea of a future documentary film in mind, Gagnon has kept up a blog about his travels and has also put together a series of short videos with a few highlights of his trips and talks.  One of the video highlights was about working here in Special Collections with our Will James materials.  At the end of his days of research he asked me to say a few words about our department for his next video blog, which I was happy to do so.  If you would like to see his short videos, you may view them in both English or French via this link (look for the one Claude did with me with “University of Nevada, Reno” in the title):

Claude Gagnon also has his Facebook blog “Sur les Traces de Will James – On The Will James Trail” if you wish to follow him there:

We are looking forward to that happy day that Claude Gagnon is able to return with his film crew and make the movie that will tell an additional story about young Will James’ life that needs to be told.