Uncovering Nevada's Past: A Primary Source History of the Silver State (Nevada History Series)

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Nevada's relatively brief history has been nonetheless remarkably eventful. From the activities of the first Euro-American explorers to the booms and busts of the mining industry, from the struggles and artistry of the Native Americans to the establishment of liberal divorce laws and such unique industries as legalized gambling and prostitution, from Cold War atomic tests to the civil rights movement, and from the arrival of a diverse and rapidly growing urban population to the Sagebrush Rebellion, Nevada has played a part in the nation's development while following its own ruggedly independent path.

In Uncovering Nevada's Past, historians John B. Reid and Ronald M. James have collected more than fifty major documents and visual images -- some never before published -- that define Nevada's colorful and complex development. Here are the words of such literary luminaries as Mark Twain, Sarah Winnemucca, and Arthur Miller; anonymous newspaper articles; public documents including Abraham Lincoln's proclamation of Nevada statehood and the probate records of murdered Virginia City prostitute Julia Bulette; personal letters; political speeches; and personal accounts of, among other subjects, the construction of Hoover Dam, life in a mining boomtown, racial segregation in Las Vegas, political careers, and atomic testing. Images include photographs of significant Nevada architecture, the masterpieces of renowned Paiute basketmaker Dat-so-la-lee, tree carvings by Basque sheepherders, and tourism promotions. The collection ranges from the earliest descriptions of the region to the current debate on Yucca Mountain. The volume editors have provided an introduction and headnotes that set the documents into their historical and social context. Uncovering Nevada's Past is a vital, enlightening record of Nevada's history -- in the words of the people who lived and made it -- that makes for lively and engaging reading.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
Pt. 1 Beginnings
1 The physical environment 3
A computer-enhanced map of Nevada geography 3
Mark twain on Nevada's "Harsh land" 3
2 Contacts and conflicts 7
The adventures of Zenas Leonard, fur trader 7
The Pyramid lake war from two perspectives : Numaga and Edmund Bryant 13
The Native American condition : various writings by Sarah Winnemucca 16
Pt. 2 Bonanzas and borrascas
3 First settlements, territory, and early statehood 21
Captain Nathaniel V. Jones's report from the Las Vegas Mormon Fort-Mission 21
The Gold Hill record book 26
Congressman James M. Ashley's (R-Ohio) reasons for Nevada statehood 1865 28
William M. Ormsby's letter to Stephan Douglas 29
President Abraham Lincoln's proclamation of Nevada statehood, 1884 30
The Nevada constitution's paramount allegiance clause 31
4 The Comstock 33
Mark twain and gold fever 34
The old corner bar's water filter 39
Nevada architecture in the nineteenth century 41
The Virginia Evening Chronicle reports on opium on the comstock 43
Dan de Quille on woodcutting in the Sierra Nevada 47
Fortune-telling on the Comstock 52
Julia Bulette's probate records 55
Mark Twain's description of the execution of John Millian, 1868 59
James Nye's speech to the first territorial legislature 62
Frances Fuller Victor's "Nevada" 66
5 Nineteenth-century social history 69
Letters to Wovoka 69
The Reno Evening Gazette reports on Coxey's army in Nevada 73
Two voices for civil rights in the nineteenth century - W. H. Hall and Alexander W. Baldwin 78
Pt. 3 Rolling the dice
6 Turn-of-the-century mining booms 87
Mrs. Hugh Brown on Tonopah housekeeping 87
Theodore Roosevelt's admonition of governor John T. Sparks 90
The Sacramento Bee on George Wingfield 94
7 Twentieth-century social history 100
The baskets of Dat-so-la-lee 100
Carvings and structures of Nevada's Basque sheepherders 101
C. L. R. James's letters from Nevada 104
Warden Dickerson's account of the execution of Gee Jon, 1924 107
Billy Murray's "I'm on my way to Reno" 109
Prohibition legislation in Nevada 111
Postcards promoting automobile tourism in Nevada 115
8 Depression and new deal 119
Nevada's new deal buildings 119
Paul Hutchinson on Nevada gambling in The Christian Century 121
Postcards promoting gambling in Nevada 128
Images of Nevada prostitution 131
Images from the Johnson-Jeffries fight 133
Postcards advertising Nevada divorce 135
Postcards promoting marriage in Nevada 136
Erma O. Godbey on the construction of Hoover Dam 139
9 Modern Nevada 142
H. M. Peterson's letter about Japanese railroad workers during World War II 142
Hank Greenspun challenges senator Joe McCarthy 143
Testimony from the Kefauver hearings in Las Vegas 147
The Atomic Energy Commission explains atomic testing in Nevada 160
Thomas H. Saffer witnesses as atomic test at the Nevada test site 164
Arthur Miller on Nevada and The misfits 168
Grant Sawyer on getting tough on gaming control 177
James B. McMillan on the Civil Rights Movement in Las Vegas 182
Sammy Davis, Jr. on the segregation of African American entertainers in Las Vegas 189
Lena Horne on entertaining in Las Vegas 199
"The seed" poster : rock, art, and the history of Nevada 201
Paul Laxalt's reflections on his relationship with Ronald Reagan 202
The Jarbidge debates - Elko County v. the Forest Service 207
The Yucca mountain debate - Spencer Abraham v. Kenny Guinn 215
Sources 221
Contributors 225
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