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Decades of RGJ photos now archived at University

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A collection of photographic negatives covering northern Nevada history and taken by photographers from the Reno Gazette Journal are now a part of the University of Nevada, Reno libraries collection. 

The photos, which date from 1959 up to the early 2000s, were donated to the libraries in 2020 and are just now ready to be accessed. 

“Outside of our Political Papers collection, this new addition serves as another jewel in the Libraries’ crown,” UNR Dean of University Libraries Catherine Cardwell said. “The RGJ Photograph Collection ensures discoverability and access to a rich resource that is available for use to meet scholarship, learning, personal enjoyment and research needs.”

Libraries archivists estimate there are anywhere between 1.5 and two million photographs in the collection which feature an “unparalleled” look at people, places, events, fashion and style in northern Nevada. They added that requests to University Archives for photos such as these have increased by 33% between 2018 and 2021.

“People tend to request documentation from the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s,” Kim Anderson,  the university’s head of special collections, said. “Now we have excellent visual resources to share. The collection is even pre-licensed for all but commercial uses; meaning researchers can publish in non-profit presses from it, students can use it to design digital projects or learn how different social movements of the 20th century played out locally, and homeowners and residents can use it to research history of their house or neighborhood.”

The photo negatives were previously held in 360 boxes stored in the Reno Gazette Journal building for decades. When the newspaper moved to a smaller office there was no longer room to store the massive archive, nor staffing to manage it. After negotiations, the collection was donated to UNR.

UNR Libraries received a $79,000 grant to complete work associated with the negatives, including digitizing a portion and cataloging the work to make finding, sharing and using the images more accessible. 

Images that have been digitized can be viewed here.

Source: UNR

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