Links: University Libraries, Contact Special Collections

Las Vegas was a community where people lived and worked long before it became a tourist destination. 

photo: African Americans in early Las Vegas
The Documenting the African-American Experience digital portal provides images, oral histories and documents that provide insight into to the Black community in Las Vegas.

photo: Paiute woman and children from the Lincoln County Museum Collection

This image of a Paiute woman and children from the Lincoln County Museum Collection is one of many images in our collections depicting indigenous peoples of the southern and central Nevada region.
photo: Nevada Gay Rodeo Association (April 1998) float
The LGBT Community in Las Vegas is well-documented  and includes images from Las Vegas Gay Pride celebrations such as this one of the Nevada Gay Rodeo Association (April 1998) float from the Dennis McBride Collection.

 

Special Collections documents the histories of the people and organizations that have been instrumental in developing the Las Vegas community by collecting the personal papers, newsletters, organizational records, and oral histories of these various groups.

Racial and Ethnic Groups

From the indigenous tribes of southern Nevada to African-Americans, Chinese, and Japanese-Americans and many others, a variety of ethnic groups have called Las Vegas and southern Nevada home over the years. Special Collections has a number of manuscript collections that provide documentation of their lives and work. The Documenting the African-American Experience project is a digital portal to a wide variety of historical material on blacks in Las Vegas.

Books and periodicals in Special Collections can provide insights into various ethnic communities and groups in Las Vegas. Two helpful books are The Peoples of Las Vegas: One City, Many Faces  and More Peoples of Las Vegas: One City, Many Faces. Special Collections also has many issues of the African-American community newspaper, Sentinel Voice, in its periodicals collection.

Women's Organizations

From the founding of the Mesquite Club in 1911, the first women's group in Las Vegas, women's organizations have long played a role in promoting philanthropy and charitable works in Las Vegas. There are the records of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Gold Star Mothers, Junior League, American War Mothers, Uh-Wah-Un Study Club, Las Vegas Literary Club, Junior Mesquite, and many others. These collections form part of the Nevada Women's Archive collecting initiative in Special Collections.

photo: Tomiyasus - a pioneering Japanese-American farming family

Special Collections has both photographs and oral histories of the Tomiyasus—a pioneering Japanese-American farming family in Las Vegas.

Civic and Community Organizations

A number of political and civic organizations have also contributed to the growth of Las Vegas. Our collections include the local chapters of organizations such as League of Women Voters of Las Vegas Valley, National Organization of Women, American Association of University Women, National League of American Penwomen, American Red Cross, and Variety Children's Charity just to name a few. The Fayle Family Papers contain much information on the early Rotary Club chapter in Las Vegas. The arts community in Las Vegas may be explored in the Allied Arts Council Records, Community Concerts Collection, Las Vegas Art Museum Records, and Nevada Watercolor Society Collection, among others.

LGBT Community Papers, Photographs and Periodicals

The LGBT Community in Las Vegas is also richly documented in Special Collections from the papers of individuals such as Dan Hinkley, Marge Jacques, Strutt Hurley, Dennis McBride, and Rick L. May to the organizational records of groups such as Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Las Vegas, Equal Rights Nevada, Las Vegas Men's Club, and many others. We also collect local LGBT periodicals such as the Las Vegas Bugle, Q Vegas, Night Beat, and others. In addition to these materials, Special Collections has an extensive collection of oral histories that feature the personal stories of individuals who have been instrumental in shaping the LGBT community in Las Vegas.

Other Organizations and Individuals

Biographical and vertical files in Special Collections can also provide insight into organizations and individuals that have impacted Las Vegas. Vertical files can be browsed in the Special Collections Reading Room. An inventory for the Biography Files can be found on the vertical files and newspapers section of the website.