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Special Collections on the Web

One of the central activities of Special Collections, besides organizing, describing and preserving physical materials and providing personalized assistance to students and researchers, is to provide access to collections through the Web. Detailed, searchable guides to the photo and manuscript collections are available on the Special Collections website, and digital collections and online exhibits bring thousands of individual photographs and documents directly to users, thanks to the coordination of the library’s Digital Projects librarian, Glee Willis, and the help of student assistants, volunteers, and staff members throughout the library:

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More than 2,800 Special Collections photographs:

More than 4,000 University Archives photographs:

Other collections of historical photographs, documents, and art:

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Here's a few additional images of books and letters mentioned in the article:

The Book of the Oath

The Book of the Oath is a prized University Archives item. The large, blue leather and silver-bound tome with 100 vellum leaves was commissioned in 1920 to receive the signatures of all members of each University of Nevada graduating class. By signing, graduates indicated that they had taken the solemn civic pledge inscribed at the beginning of the book. The pledge includes swearing “lifelong loyalty to the shaping ideals of American civilization … liberty … equality … and justice” and that each classes’ generation “shall bequeath an even better and nobler civilization than came to it.” The last group of students to sign the oath was the Class of 1964.


Signed letter by Sarah Winnemucca

Among the items lovingly stored by Special Collections is a handwritten, signed letter by Sarah Winnemucca, the influential Northern Paiute writer who worked throughout her life to develop understanding between white settlers and her people. In the letter, written during the 1860s in delicate, cursive script on paper now yellowed by time, Winnemucca implores “all good Christians” to help elder Paiutes, George and his wife, in their old age.


Page 2 of the Sarah Winnemucca letter.

Page 2 of the Sarah Winnemucca letter.


Robert Laxalt Letter

On Jan. 15, 1954 Robert Laxalt, one of Nevada’s most heralded authors and founder of the University of Nevada Press, writes to his book editor, saying: “I’ll have those beginning chapters to you fair soon. Things got crowded up a bit lately, and as of next week, I’m donning the wage shackles again. This independent writing is too precarious, both locally and nebulous nationally. I’d hoped that darn novelette might pull us out for a few months, but I guess not.” Laxalt was working on a novelette called Rimrock, which had started out as a short story. His agent thought that additional chapters might appeal to the publisher, but that didn’t work out.

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