These children pose on the steps of the Boulder City City Hall in this undated photograph from our Manis Collection. The building first served as a school for children of Boulder Dam construction workers. The girls wear costumes decorated with hearts as "Uncle Sam" looks on. It may or may not have been Valentine's Day, but we still think it's fitting for February!
Menu from Thanksgiving 1908 at the Binkley Hotel in Sherman, Texas (Bohn-Bettoni Collection)
With Thanksgiving approaching, we're feeling a sense of gratitude for many things, among them the growing diversity and expansion of our archives over the past year. In honor of the holiday, we're equally grateful to be able to share these photographs and ephemeral materials from our Special Collections. They recall several delightful ways that Thanksgiving was celebrated over the last century in Las Vegas, in Southern Nevada and across the country.
A photo essay by Nancy Hardy, Special Collections Outreach and Reference Assistant
Von Tobel Family Papers, 19051997. MS-00589. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. (Box 09 folder 02)
Many of the Christmas presents children receive today would have looked very strange under the Christmas tree of Von Tobel family in the 1920s. A small metal rectangle with wires that connect to the ears, an animal made of metal, a box filled with plastics bricks that you assemble yourself—MP3 players, robotic pets, and LEGOs are just some of the gifts that today's children desire during the holiday season that children of the 1920s would never have dreamed of. While many of the presents children desire fade and change with the times, there is one present that children of all times have wished for … a new bicycle!
Halloween Ball Invitation, October 1919. UNLV Special Collections, Wengert Family Papers (MS-00192); box 1, folder 5
Boo! Sometimes Las Vegas can be downright scary. At UNLV Special Collections, archival materials document the city’s rich history of celebrating Halloween. During my 2014 summer internship here, I have been delighted to stumble upon several ghoulish finds from Sin City’s Halloweens past. Take for instance an invitation for a Halloween ball in 1919. Found as I processed the Wengert Family Papers (MS-00192), this invite was sent to a young Las Vegas pioneer shortly after her arrival in Las Vegas. The October 31 ball featured dancing, apple-bobbing, and a costume contest at a local lodge. The artwork of the invitation itself remains in spectacularly good shape. Featuring a black cat, ghost, and witch, it remains an authentic piece of early Halloween history in America. Even in the early days of Las Vegas, residents found time to celebrate the holiday.