Mike Smith Editorial Cartoon Collection Donated To Special Collections & Archives

Mike Smith, Editorial Cartoon for the Las Vegas Sun (Photo courtesy Christopher DeVargas/Las Vegas Sun)

Special Collections & Archives in the UNLV University Libraries is getting political with it’s latest donation - more than 35 years of Las Vegas Sun editorial cartoons from cartoonist Mike Smith. 

“We are so thrilled that Mike Smith and the Las Vegas Sun have chosen to donate this collection to our university,” said Maggie Farrell, Dean of Libraries at UNLV. “Students in political science, history, fine arts, and other professions will be able to access this archive and gain insight into what was relevant and impactful in Las Vegas for decades.”

Smith and Las Vegas Sun publisher Brian Greenspun chose to donate the collection, which includes more than 13,000 illustrations, to UNLV to keep his work close to home.

“UNLV is the perfect home for this collection. Special Collections is focused on Las Vegas history and this collection depicts so much of that history,” said Smith. “I'm so glad that the cartoons will be preserved at UNLV.”

The extensive collection spans seven U.S. presidents and decades of Las Vegas history dating back to the 1980s.

“Mike has been an integral part of the Las Vegas Sun for decades. While, inexplicably, he has not won a Pulitzer Prize yet, his incisive wit and artistic talents have given Sun readers a very personal view of history as it has unfolded,” said Brian Greenspun, CEO, Publisher & Editor of the Las Vegas Sun. “Now, his complete collection will be available through the university for academics, students, researchers and others interested in our civic life to learn from one of the very best in his profession. We are happy to support Mike in his desire to create this gift to UNLV.”

File cabinets holding Mike Smith's editorial cartoons. (Photo courtesy Christopher DeVargas/Las Vegas Sun)

The Mike Smith Collection will enhance the offerings available through Special Collections & Archives, which include rare and unique materials about Southern Nevada’s region's heritage, including digital archives of many historic newspapers preserved through the Nevada Digital Newspaper Project.

“The transfer of Smith’s collection from the Las Vegas Sun Archives to the university’s Special Collections has been in the works for five years.  To see it come to fruition — knowing this rare and unique collection has found a secure, archival friendly home — is truly rewarding,” said Rebecca Clifford-Cruz, Las Vegas Sun Librarian. “Mike and other editorial cartoonists are compared to white rhinos. His body of work is a treasure, windows into the political and social life of the United States, Nevada, and Las Vegas over four decades. With Smith’s professional career playing out here locally, UNLV was an obvious choice for preserving his work.”

Special Collections and Archives faculty and staff have begun organizing the collection to make it available for researchers. Future plans are also being developed for the digitization of the collection and to produce exhibits of the collection in Lied Library.

The UNLV Libraries Special Collections and Archives supports researchers worldwide in the interdisciplinary study of Las Vegas, Southern Nevada, and gaming; and is also home to two academic research centers, the UNLV Oral History Research Center and the UNLV Center for Gaming Research. For more information, visit the website at www.library.unlv.edu/speccol.

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