Links: University Libraries, Contact Special Collections

What's New in Special Collections

Telling Tales in Special Collections: Tales from the Pit

By Su Kim Chung on October 20, 2016 9:24 PM | Permalink


Tales from the Pit, a new publication edited by David G. Schwartz, Director of the Center for Gaming Research, inside UNLV Libraries Special Collections (Cover photo by Aaron Mayes, UNLV Special Collections Curator of Visual Materials)

UNLV Libraries Special Collections houses a vast collection of recorded, transcribed and/or digitized oral histories—first-person narratives told by Las Vegas pioneers and residents, some covering events that happened 100 years or more in the past. They are, in a way, self-portraits of people from many professions, cultures and lifestyles who have shared in Las Vegas’ eclectic history. What was it like to live and work near Hoover Dam during its construction? What was life like for a showgirl during the heyday of the Rat Pack? These stories are endlessly fascinating, even if you’re not a historian or researcher!

New Libraries Exhibit Features Items from University Archives

By Su Kim Chung on October 10, 2016 3:59 PM | Permalink

A new exhibit in Lied Library curated by social sciences librarian Heidi Johnson features a number of original documents, photographs, yearbooks, and copies of the UNLV student newspaper Rebel Yell drawn from the University Archives in Special Collections. The original documents were essential to chronicling the history of student activism at UNLV over six decades.  

“Documents from the University Archives offer examples of students working with administrators to change curricula and programming to meet the needs of a diverse student body,” said Michelle Light, director of Special Collections at UNLV University Libraries. “The exhibit contains powerful examples that showcase how student activism has helped initiate conversations on campus that led to change within the university.”

Collection highlight: Gary Guy Wilson and the primitive hut, by Tyler Stanger and Jimmy Chang

By Cyndi Shein on October 3, 2016 12:00 AM | Permalink

As one of the oldest of architectural theories, the ‘primitive hut’ has influenced generations of architects. A primitive hut occurs when vertical tree trunks planted in the ground support a horizontal beam that bears a sloped roof to shed rainwater. In 1753 the French theorist Marc-Antoine (Abbe) Laugier argued that the Primitive Hut testifies of architecture’s natural origins and that it, the primitive hut, is the prototype of all built form.

Laugier Primitive Hut
Marc-Antoine (Abbe) Laugier called attention to architecture’s natural beginnings with this image.
Image credit: Wikimedia,

Collection Highlight: Native American Comics from the Katherine A. Spilde Papers, by Hana Gutierrez

By Cyndi Shein on September 24, 2016 12:00 AM | Permalink

A young boy posed in a wide stance gazes into the distance. His arms hold a cape outstretched at his sides. The young boy’s name is Georgie and he is an Ojibwe of the Mille Lacs Band in Minnesota. Georgie is one of the many characters depicted in comic books produced by the Mille Lacs Band to educate their children, and also the non-Native American public, on Ojibwe culture. In the comic A Hero’s Voice, Georgie’s grandfather teaches him the importance of recognizing the real heroes in his life, his ancestors, not imagined comic book heroes. Georgie’s grandfather guides him through hundreds of years of Ojibwe history, highlighting how his ancestors fought to protect their rights and land from Anglo interlopers. At the end of the story Georgie is told that he too can be a hero, by protecting the culture of his people, making sure their stories are not erased and that their sovereignty is protected.


Six Secrets from Special Collections with Cory Lampert

By Su Kim Chung on September 13, 2016 6:15 PM | Permalink

Cory Lampert, Head, Digital Collections, Special Collections Division

In our Secrets from Special Collections series, UNLV Libraries Special Collections staff members divulge what they consider to be the hidden gems of the library, sharing answers, based on their own experiences, to six intriguing questions. Here, Cory Lampert, Head of Digital Collections gives us a glimpse into life working among the rare treasures of the library.

When you first began working in Special Collections, what was the one item or collection that made your jaw drop, and why? Describe.

America’s Great Gamble: NHPRC Grant Project Work Underway, by Hannah Robinson

By Cyndi Shein on September 6, 2016 5:08 PM | Permalink

Down on the first-floor processing area of UNLV’s Lied Library, our local National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant project team is busy at work organizing, rehousing, and describing three of the largest gaming collections in Special Collections. The project team includes two graduates of UNLV’s History Department masters’ program, Lindsay Oden and Hannah Robinson, who are employed as full-time project archivists, as well as a graduate student assistant from the History Department, Lee Hanover, and an undergraduate student assistant, Hana Gutierrez.

Understanding Architecture Through Special Collections, by Jimmy Chang and Tyler Stanger

By Cyndi Shein on August 15, 2016 12:00 AM | Permalink

As sixth year students in UNLV's School of Architecture, we are preparing research theses for our final year of studies in the Master's program. We are interested in urban history, Jimmy in how urban areas and architecture are portrayed in popular media and Tyler in the architectural development of Las Vegas.  In order to better understand the architectural history of Las Vegas, we are working this summer as interns for UNLV University Libraries Special Collections processing the Gary Guy Wilson and Martin Stern architectural records. It has been a lot of fun to learn from the work of these two influential architects as we discover, organize, rehouse, and describe their collected drawings.

Students from UNLV School of Architecture, Tyler Stanger and Jimmy Chang, identifying, analyzing, comparing, and processing drawings of the Riviera Hotel from the Martin Stern Architectural Records, MS-00382.

Six Secrets from Special Collections with Aaron Mayes

By Su Kim Chung on July 25, 2016 10:14 AM | Permalink


Aaron Mayes, Visual Materials Curator, Special Collections Division

In our Secrets from Special Collections series, UNLV Libraries Special Collections staff members reveal a few lesser-known aspects about the archives and offer up personal insight into research and discovery, sharing answers, based on their own experiences, to six intriguing questions.Here, Aaron Mayes, curator for visual materials, gives us a glimpse into life working among the rare treasures of the library.

1. When you first began working in Special Collections, what was the one item or collection that made your jaw drop, and why? Describe.

Eadington Gaming Fellow Paul Franke: In Residence July 19 – August 16

By Su Kim Chung on July 20, 2016 12:00 AM | Permalink


Paul Franke is a doctoral candidate in history at the International Max Planck Research School for Moral Economies of Modern Societies and the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany. His research interests are the history of gaming, urban history, the history of entertainment and pop-culture in both the USA and Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Franke’s current project is his dissertation “The Production of Monaco (1860-1960) and Las Vegas (1945-1976) as Sites of (Un)Moral Economies.”  The project will shed light on the production process of the unique gaming experience in both places, via the historical analysis of spatial arrangements, business models, advertisements, the involved workforce, and gaming practices in a comparative perspective.