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May 7, 2007
The City of Reno Historical Resources Commission will honor Bob Blesse, director of the University's Black Rock Press, May 9 for his leadership in documenting and preserving local and state architectural history. Blesse will receive the "distinguished service" award, one of five 2006 Historic Preservation Awards, in the City Council Chambers, Reno City Hall.
From 1981 to 2006, Bob Blesse led the Special Collections Department at the University of Nevada, Reno Library. During this time he was in charge of a vast collection of significant historical materials including a substantial collection on the history of Reno. Blesse established the Nevada Architectural Archives, which contains thousands of drawings and other materials including the Frederic DeLongchamps Collection. In addition to cataloging the DeLongchamps collection, Blesse oversaw the acquisition of architectural collections of other prominent Reno architects such as Ray Hellmann, Graham Erskine, Russell Mills, Willis Church, Hewitt Wells and Edward Parsons.
While with Special Collections, Blesse made an outstanding contribution to the acquisition, preservation and accessibility of significant material dealing with the history and development of Reno and its surrounding region. In his current position as director of the Black Rock Press, his work to preserve Reno's architectural and historical past continues. In June, the Press will publish Historical Houses and Buildings of Reno, Nevada, an Historical and Architectural Guide.
Blesse has a master's degree in English from California State University, Chico and a master's degree in Library and Information Science from UCLA. As director of the Black Rock Press he teaches book-arts classes through the Art Department and coordinates the publishing activities of the Press. In 2000 he received a Governor's Millennium Arts Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts.