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!
Here in Special Collections, researchers can find a multitude of historic records, manuscript and photograph collections, oral histories, and rare books and artifacts documenting the social and cultural history of Las Vegas and Nevada. Since our collections cover a broad range of subjects and activities, it's no surprise that it's possible to discover delightful pieces of ephemera that elicit waves of nostalgia from visitors to our reading rooms. With Valentine's Day upon us, we thought we'd share a few sentimental items that remind us of sweetness and romance in our common past.
By Nancy Hardy, Special Collections Outreach and Reference Assistant
London-born Fanny Soss came to Las Vegas in 1931 and opened her first fashionable boutique, "Fanny's Dress Shop" on Fifth Street in 1931. The store moved to 121 Fremont Street the following year, where this lovely Valentine-themed display appeared in the window in 1942. Fanny later opened other locations, one in the Last Frontier Village on Las Vegas Boulevard, and one inside the Flamingo Hotel, opening in 1947. Fanny's Dress Shop Collection, PH: 0165-0010
This model showing off a fancy floral creation from Fanny's Dress Shop was photographed sometime in the 1940s at the Last Frontier Village location. It's a bit of a challenge to distinguish this stylish French Lilly Dache chapeau from the flower arrangement! From our Fanny's Dress Shop Collection, PH: 0165-0017
No, it's not a Valentine, but rather a lacy wedding breakfast menu from the Hotel Métropole in London in 1889. The hundreds of menus within our Henri Bettoni Collection offer fascinating insight into the tastes, culture and etiquette of dining establishments all over the world--and long, long ago!
Here's a romantic, old-fashioned photo from a 1961 Sweetheart Dance at Nevada Southern University, before the named was changed to UNLV. The event was described as a "reverse dance" with female students doing the inviting. In this picture from Nevada Southern's yearbook, Epilogue, Tom Daly and Judy Bauer, an engaged couple, are the "Sweetheart Couple" for 1961's theme, "Cupid's Capers." If you're curious about all the fun campus happenings of the past, a full run of Nevada Southern and UNLV yearbooks can be found in the University Archives in Special Collections.
Although this menu from London's elegant Savoy Hotel and Restaurant in 1898 was not specifically for Valentine's Day, the romantic cover won us over! The "Pinafore" reference here may have been a revival production of the comic 1878 Gilbert and Sullivan opera H. M. S. Pinafore, soon to open at the Savoy Theater right next door. This lovely menu is from our Henri Bettoni Menu Collection.
The beautiful Kathryn Duffy Dancers kick up their heels on the Gay 90s bar at the Last Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, circa 1945. We thought their frilly costumes and bonnets reminded us of a Valentine! (Manis Collection, PH: 0100-0114)
Our Menus the Art of Dining collection also includes those in the Henry J. Bohn Collection. This menu adorned with flowers and cupid comes from the Huron House Restaurant in Port Huron, Michigan. The fan-shaped menu cleverly folds in the center!
Hotel and casino magnate William Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. Corporate Archives includes mostly corporate-related materials, but also holds a delightful collection of vintage card games and playing cards. The King and Queen of Hearts reign elegantly over our featured Valentine's-themed ephemera! (MS-00460)
Wishing everyone a Valentine's Day filled with hearts and flowers and sentimental memories!