Love for Reno’s Divorce Industry

I had a great time talking with writer Helena Guglielmino for her new Reno News & Review piece about Reno’s infamous migratory divorce trade, “Don’t Be My Valentine: Forget the hearts and flowers–it’s time to brush up on Reno’s divorce history.” During the six decades that Reno reigned as the “Divorce Capital of the World,” the industry was responsible for the construction and successful operation of countless lodging establishments from luxury hotels to rented rooms to resort-like “guest ranches”; the success of local businesses and services from restaurants, nightclubs, and boutiques to doctors, dentists, and laundries; the city’s first appearances in motion pictures and celebrity magazines; and so much more.

I’ve personally been approached to discuss and help others to research this part of Reno’s rich history more often in the past few years than ever before, from authors of popular fiction like Better Luck Next Time to the producer of the podcast 99% Invisible episode, “The Six Week Cure,” to Hollywood screenwriters (TBA). The Reno Divorce is having a moment, and it’s time for Reno to embrace it as a formative aspect of the city’s history and identity and give it a central role in placemaking and tourism development. Also be sure to check out the comprehensive award-winning website that I helped put together a few years ago, “Illuminating Reno’s Divorce Industry,” featuring brief explanations of all aspects of the divorce trade, an extensive research bibliography, a massive digital archive of thousands of relevant materials from photographs and postcards to magazine articles, books, letters and diaries, oral histories, and more.