Oral History Online


This week we’re launching the new website for the published collection of the University of Nevada Oral History Program (UNOHP), which I have directed since July 2009. The website can be found here, and we’re still loading transcripts and tweaking various search functions, but we’ve decided that it’s complete enough for people to begin exploring, and I couldn’t be more proud.

We have items in the collection dating back to 1965, the first year interviews were conducted after the program was founded in 1964. We’ll be adding other transcripts over the next month, for a total of more than 700 interviews on topics ranging from cattle ranching to community bike shops.  The earliest interviewees were born in the 1880s, giving us an incredible record of the entire twentieth century, and in some cases, even earlier.

I’ll be posting about selected items from the collection all week, and on this Memorial Day, it seems fitting to highlight the World War II Veterans Project, a compilation of oral history interviews with 17 Nevada veterans of World War II who bravely served throughout the world. Their words, like those of so many others in the collection, tell a story not just of Nevada, but of America. I am thrilled that they are now available for everyone to appreciate and enjoy.

The Art of the Casino

I’m excited to announce an event in which I’ll be participating this coming Friday, May 17th. It’s the May salon, “The Art of the Casino,” sponsored by Nevada Humanities, to be held at Sundance Books & Music in Reno at 6:30 p.m. More details on the event here.

Salon de Madame Geoffrin

This monthly series is inspired by their namesake gatherings of old, when people of wide & varied interests met together to share lively conversation about the topics of the day. They are stimulating (literally and intellectually–there’s wine!), and always draw an ebullient crowd.

This Friday’s salon, “The Art of the Casino” is particularly inspired for our time and place, and will feature David Kranes and  Susan Chandler. I’ll moderate and round out the panel. We’ll give our panelists a chance to share their thoughts and then we’ll all chime in.

David is an award-winning writer, playwright, and professor emeritus of Creative Writing from the University of Utah, who has written many pieces inspired by Nevada’s gambling landscape, including the novel Keno Runner. He is also a creative design consultant for casinos, giving him terrific insights on creating art both in and from the casino environment.

Susan, an associate professor in UNR’s School of Social Work, is co-author of the new book, Casino Women: Courage in Unexpected Places, which incorporates interviews with maids, cocktail waitresses, cooks, laundry workers, dealers, pit bosses, and vice presidents, into a pioneering look at women in the casino world.

What will we discuss? Whatever comes to mind! How casinos shape the visitor experience, who holds the power within them and how those dynamics have changed, why casinos look and feel the way they do, and what we all see as the future of casinos, their workers, and their communities as legalized gambling expands throughout the country and the world. Please join us and add your voice to the conversation!