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What Are Manuscripts?
Manuscripts are original
records, either handwritten, typed, or printed, that have been created
or gathered together by individuals, organizations, institutions
or agencies to document their transactions, ideas, decisions, or
discussions. They may be in the form of correspondence,
diaries, ledgers, memoranda, minutes,
accounts, reports, literary creations, title deeds, or legal documents.
Manuscripts serve as
primary sources that provide first-hand documentation
and evidence of the events, decisions, ideas, and actions that shape
the development of a society or community.
Research using manuscripts involves several steps such as consulting a guide to the collection to determine which boxes may be of use to you, retrieving the boxes, and then analyzing the materials to determine if they are pertinent to your research. For guidance in using manuscript collections, please consult the following websites (both open in new window):
Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research
Library Research Using Primary Resources
About the Collections
UNLV Special Collections house approximately 5000 linear feet of manuscripts in over 500 discrete collections. They include government records such as the original Las Vegas City council minute books, business records from the Union Pacific Railroad, the papers of political figures such as Nevada Senators Howard Cannon and Chic Hecht, Las Vegas Mayor Oran Gragson, as well as state legislators, and city and county commissioners. Other collections include the files and drawings of prominent hotel architect Martin Stern, Jr.; the papers, maps, photograph and monograph collection of eminent geologist Chester Longwell; and the files of William Hannah, public relations representative for Howard Hughes. The papers of numerous Las Vegas pioneers including notables such as Helen Stewart, "Pop" Squires, and Leon Rockwell also figure prominently in the collections. As a whole, the UNLV manuscript collections document the history and development of the city of Las Vegas and its region -- from the perspectives of engineering to real estate, the U.S. Senate to local church and civic organizations, journalism and the arts to political and environmental activist groups, and from the construction of Hoover Dam to the explosions at the Nevada Test Site.
Nevada Women's Archive Project
UNLV Special Collections is the southern depository for the Nevada Women's Archive Project, a statewide program instituted to identify and collect material documenting women in Nevada. As a result, new material specifically documenting women in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada are being added to the UNLV manuscript collections. A listing of these collections is available.
Access to the Manuscript Collections
Once you have located a manuscript collection that fits your research needs, you will need to consult the guide to the collection known as the collection guide.
The collection guide will provide you with detailed information on who or what the collection is about, and will list the individual items that can be found in the collection.
Some collection guides to the
UNLV manuscript collections can be found online by searching here while others can be found by contacting the Manuscripts Librarian Su Kim Chung or the Department of
Special Collections on the 3rd floor of Lied Library. Staff are
on hand to assist you should you have questions regarding the
guides or the collections.