Links: University Libraries, Contact Special Collections

What's New in Special Collections

Union Pacific Railroad Collection Water Resources Digitization Project Complete

By skennedy on October 16, 2019 9:41 AM | Permalink

The Digital Collections department in UNLV University Libraries Special Collections & Archives has completed work on a grant-funded project to digitize documents related to water resources from the Union Pacific Railroad Collection. The project, funded by a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act administered by the Nevada State Library and Archives, resulted in the digitization of 55,000 pages of records.

The Golden Age of Auto Travel by Lauren Paljusaj

By Angela Moor on August 5, 2019 3:07 PM | Permalink

US 50 travel placemat with drawing of scenery and destinations along highway with text description below

The Travel Mat for US 95 shows tourist attractions from Lovelock, Nevada to Blythe, California, featuring the Nevada Test Site and Boulder Dam, approximately 1940-1970 (UNLV University Libraries Menu Collection, MS-00436)

In today’s age of Google maps, Yelp, and the multitude of smartphone apps available for travel and leisure, taking a road trip is somewhat different from the post-World War II era, when long-distance car travel was a momentous occasion. The post-war economic boom of the 1940s and 1950s meant more people could afford cars, and this, along with more employers offering paid vacation time, meant that road trips were a popular family activity.

Snapshots of America by Kyle Gagnon

By Angela Moor on July 29, 2019 4:33 PM | Permalink

Over the course of sorting and processing thousands of historic menus, I have come across nearly identical looking menus from completely different restaurants. These menus featured a design of visually stimulating patterns of dots that created a sort of optical illusion effect in the background of the interior, and even more interesting patterns on the back. Inside, different sections of the menu were neatly squared off and organized, with some of them accompanied by charming and detailed illustrations of food. But why were these menus practically the same, when one is from Sanford, North Carolina, and the other is from Ville Platte, Louisiana?

Cover of menu depicting green grass and tree

UNLV Libraries Collection of Menus (MS-00436)

If You're Game by Mary Anilao

By Angela Moor on July 22, 2019 3:29 PM | Permalink

In the early stages of the menu project, I came across a menu that had nothing on the front except the text “If you’re game.” The black text stood out from its white canvas background, but other than that, there was nothing exceptional about this menu. Until I opened it.

If You're Game menu from UNLV Libraries Collection of Menus (MS-00436)

An Unexpected Memory by Paola Landaverde

By Angela Moor on July 15, 2019 4:32 PM | Permalink

From sewing music scores in the preservation lab to categorizing and identifying menus in the menu collection, working in the Special Collections and Archives division of the UNLV University Libraries has enriched my knowledge. This summer, I have been working on the menu project with four other undergraduate students. Coming across menus from old Las Vegas casinos such as the Stardust or the Desert Inn, as well as menus with elaborate designs and food items from different states, has sparked my curiosity about the evolution of gastronomy. Seeing menus from a diverse array of countries including France, Australia, Benin, and even Kuwait has been amazing, but I never expected to come across a restaurant guide from El Salvador, my home country!

Restaurants in El Salvador brocure

The Restaurant of the Counterculture by Chriziel Childers

By Angela Moor on July 8, 2019 4:39 PM | Permalink

The 1960s was an era of counterculture, rejecting  the conservative norms and the social conformity of the earlier decade. From the anti-war movement, civil rights movement, to second wave feminism, the 1960s left a mark in the history of the United States. The psychedelic movement that occurred during the 1960s influenced music, art, literature, and even fashion of the decade.

As one of the Archival Assistants arranging and describing Special Collections and Archives’ large collection of menus, I come across menus that date from the late 1800s to early 2000s from all over the world. One particular menu I stumbled upon dates from around the late 1960s, with intricate artwork that caught my attention immediately.

Scanned full page image of Trident menu

Latinx Voices: Monserrath Hernández

By skennedy on July 1, 2019 10:12 AM | Permalink

When her family moved to Summerlin in 2007 from the predominantly Latinx neighborhood of East Hollywood in Los Angeles, Monserrath Hernández went through a period of culture shock. "I had never really felt out of place before, until we settled in Summerlin. For a long time I had trouble feeling like I belonged in any community," said Hernández, a graduate student in the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs.

Introduction to the Menu Project

By Angela Moor on June 28, 2019 1:46 PM | Permalink


UNLV staff working on menus in 1970

Special Collections Librarian Susan Anderl (seated left) with library staff member Linda Compton (seated right) and Wende Lestelle, student worker, 1979

Beginning in 1970, the UNLV Libraries Special Collections and Archives Division began collecting menus earnestly, including the collection of Henry J. Bohn, a publisher of hotel trade magazines and extensive collector of historic menus. Bohn had acquired the menus of Henri Bettoni, who worked in restaurants in London at the turn of the twentieth century. These early menus comprise the Bohn-Bettoni Menu Collection (MS-00793) and started the UNLV Libraries’ efforts to collect menus from across the world.