Introducing the NEH "Inventing Hollywood" Grant Project Team

Introducing the Inventing Hollywood: Preserving and Providing Access to the Papers of Renegade Genius Howard Hughes Project Team!

The processing project team for the "Inventing Hollywood: Preserving and Providing Access to the Papers of Renegade Genius Howard Hughes" NEH grant has been hard at working surveying the collection, preparing inventories, and beginning conservation work. The team is a diverse group of students, part-time processing assistants, and a project archivist. Their educational backgrounds, personal interests, and work experiences come together to form a strong, dynamic team. UNLV Special Collections and Archives is excited to have such a strong team!

Celene Chavez 

Celene is a second year UNLV film student and student assistant for the NEH grant project.

I am currently in my second year at UNLV as a film student. I am, personally, extremely happy to be able to gain more insight on Howard Hughes on a more professional level. Hughes was a very unusual man, known for investing his money in peculiar places. It is exciting to be granted this opportunity that allows me to acquire a more in-depth understanding of the why and how behind his actions. Howard Hughes was an immensely influential and successful man in many aspects of life and to be able to work with this collection feels like I’m stepping my feet into history and as a film student the knowledge I’ll be gaining is invaluable.

Hannah Tran

Hannah is a senior at UNLV majoring in film and English and student assistant for the NEH grant project.

Personally, I am excited to see how the story of cinema was shaped by Howard Hughes’ presence, both personally and professionally, and how its evolution progressed during the course of his lifetime. Beginning his career just at the turn of talkies and into the boundaries of the Hays code, Hughes was an innovator that daringly pushed the envelope of the film world and forever shaped its history. I hope to better understand the intricate inner workings of his mind and see if there is anything we can uncover about his personal and political views beneath the professional and social persona he assumed throughout the prime of his life. 

Jimmy Chang

Jimmy is an archival processing assistant for the NEH grant project.

In my previous studies in architectural fiction, I delved into a major component of Las Vegas’s lore: the persona of Howard Hughes. His sensationalized history, magnified by scandalous exposés, documentaries, dramatized films, and characters based on Hughes, created an image of a genius playboy billionaire in love with films, flight, speed, and technology. How much of this mythos is true? This collection focuses on Hughes as a film director, and I’m excited to help uncover and clarify truths that were hidden in boxes and cabinet drawers for years.

Kyle Gagnon

Kyle is a third year UNLV film student and student assistant for the NEH grant project.

In my time listening to our collection of oral histories here at Special Collections & Archives, I have heard several first hand accounts of interactions with the titular billionaire himself, Howard Hughes. To say that he was an eccentric man would indeed be an understatement, and yet he has still left a noticeable mark on both Las Vegas and film history. I wanted to be a part of this project to better understand the man behind those stories, as well as my own personal interest in the production of his films as a film major. I hope to discover more about his behavior, beliefs, and what drove him creatively when it came to his film production. Did he do it simply because he had enough money to throw at it, or was there something deeper to Hughes’ intentions? Regardless, there was no way I was going to miss the chance to peruse the personal materials of such an historically significant man.

Melise Leech 

Melise is an archival processing assistant for the NEH grant project.

If you live in Las Vegas, it’s hard to escape the legacy that Howard Hughes left on the city; and even a small amount of research will reveal what a complex and fascinating character he was in life. Intensely private yet larger-than-life; brilliant, with all the flaws that come with natural intellect; driven, fickle, with a unique ethic in both work and play...and certainly a product of his time. The opportunity to work with this collection is fantastic.

Quinlan Craig 

Quinlan is a second year UNLV film and anthropology student and student assistant for the NEH grant project.

Howdy, my name is Quinlan and I am a second year film student minoring in anthropology. I wanted to work on this project because I was interested in Howard Hughes and wanted to learn the process of archiving. Growing up, I always heard stories about Howard Hughes. When the opportunity arose to get to know him through his collections, I jumped on it. I look forward to working on this project and showcase Howard Hughes achievement’s with the world!

Ryan DiPaolo

Ryan is the project archivist for the NEH grant project.

My name is Ryan DiPaolo, I am the project archivist for this project, and I could not imagine a more intricate, extensive, and unique collection to process. The opportunity to get into the mind of the man that inspired Marvel’s Tony Stark is one that I did not want to pass up. I hope to learn more about the motion picture process and Hughes as a business mogul along the way, while continuing to improve my skills as an archivist with such a complex collection.

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