The Edythe and Lloyd Katz papers (1934-2002) provide a glimpse of the social, religious, and educational contributions they made to the community of Las Vegas, Nevada. Materials include photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and awards dating from 1934 to 2002.
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Scope and Contents Note
This collection provides a glimpse of the social, religious, and educational contributions that Lloyd and Edythe Katz made to the community of Las Vegas, Nevada. Materials include photographs, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and awards dating from 1934 to 2002. Edythe and Lloyd Katz were prominent members of the Las Vegas Jewish community and also owners of the Nevada Theater Corporation. The collection contains many photographs and a scrapbook about the theaters they owned and managed in Las Vegas (Fremont Theatre, Huntridge Theatre, and Guild Theatre, and Cinemas 1, 2, 3). The Nevada Theater Corporation records contain legal papers, photographs, correspondence, and various documentation for all the theaters owned by the Katz family, including architectural plans for Cinemas 1, 2, 3.
The personal papers include school records, photographs, correspondence, family records, awards and certificates.
The papers about the Katz's community involvement focus on educational activities, the Jewish Community Center, and the many other organizations that Edythe and Lloyd Katz supported.
The collection is organized into three sets of material: personal papers, Nevada Theater Corporation, and community involvement and philanthropy papers.
Biographical / Historical Note
Edythe Katz-Yarchever (née Sperling) is the founding chairperson of the Sperling Kronberg Mack Holocaust Resource Center in Las Vegas, Nevada and the Nevada Governor’s Advisory Council on Education Relating to the Holocaust. She came to Las Vegas with her husband Lloyd Katz in 1951 to manage three of the four movie theaters in the city, which they desegregated at a time when the rest of the city was still racially divided. Edythe opened the city’s first Jewish gift shop, served as Sisterhood president at Temple Beth Sholom, and established the Temple Preschool and the
Edythe Sperling was born in Boston, Massachusetts and spent her formative years there. After high school graduation, she attended the Charles School in Cambridge where she began to develop an interest in politics. One of her earliest memories was walking behind Franklin Roosevelt’s town car at the Boston Gardens.
During the early years of World War II, she was a member of the Massachusetts National Guard and drove an ambulance. Edythe then worked for the United States Army Medical Corps as an executive secretary at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland. Later, she was transferred to Cushing General Hospital in Framingham, MA, as a secretary of the Neurological Division, and then to the Hawaiian Islands.
She returned home to Boston in 1946 and shortly thereafter moved to Los Angeles. Edythe was first employed at MGM Picture Studios in Culver City and, a year later, at the Harold Hecht Agency, working with many well-known Hollywood celebrities of the time. In 1948 she met and married Lloyd Katz, who was employed as a manager for the Eagle-Lion film Distribution office in San Francisco, CA.
In October of 1951, a business opportunity arose in Las Vegas, NV. At that time, there were only four movie houses in the town and Lloyd took over the operation of three of them. They needed a great deal of improvement and updating, but Lloyd had years of experience in the field and made them first class theaters. The first thing Lloyd did was to integrate. His employees were instructed to "let everyone sit wherever he chooses."
Almost immediately upon their arrival in Las Vegas, they joined the Jewish Community Center, which was the first and only Jewish congregation in the city. They became active on the Board, Lloyd becoming its President, and Edythe with the Sisterhood, where she served as President and founded the first Judaic Gift Shop in Las Vegas. It was during Lloyd’s term as President that the plans were drawn and initiated for Temple Beth Sholom.
Both Edythe and Lloyd worked toward civil rights and inter-faith relationships in the community, opening their theaters to every church of every denomination for fund-raisers. The Huntridge Theater, in particular, was considered "the family theater." Edythe developed the Temple Preschool, the only preschool recommended by the Clark County School District, for which they offered scholarships to underprivileged children of other races and religions.
In 1980 the Katzes founded the Sperling Kronberg Mack Holocaust Resource Center in memory of Edythe's parents Gertrude and Hyman Sperling. Edythe Katz-Yarchever was the founding chairperson of both the Holocaust Resource Center and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Education Relating to the Holocaust, which was established by the Nevada Legislature in 1989. According to Katz-Yarchever, the Holocaust Resource Center’s "main purpose is, and always has been, to educate the community through the lessons of the Holocaust, by teaching respect for human dignity and the value of cultural and ethnic differences." The Governor's Advisory Council develops educational programs and provides guidance and advice about Holocaust education throughout the state. Beginning in 2004 Katz-Yarchever co-chaired both organizations with Doug Unger, who later took over as she transitioned into the position of honorary chairperson.
After 38 years of marriage, Lloyd Katz passed away in 1986 with his wife and two sons by his side. In 1995, Edythe married retired Federal Appeals Judge Gilbert Yarchever. Gilbert Yarchever passed away in 2010.
"Edythe Katz-Yarchever Biography."
- Chairperson for Board of Directors, Temple Beth Sholom
- Board of Directors, University Center for Religion and Life, UNLV
- Founding member of the Jewish Family Service Agency
- Founder of the Jewish Reporter, a Jewish Federation Newspaper
- Organizer and Director of "Volunteers for Education" program, Clark County School District
- Appointed by Governor Grant Sawyer to "Operation Independence Committee" for Clark County
- Appointed by Governor Michael O'Callaghan to the "State Health Facilities Advisory Council"
- Founder and organizer of Junior Art League – children’s auxiliary of the Las Vegas Art League
- One of the founders and organizers of FOCUS Youth Services
- Executive board member of Las Vegas Jewish Federation
- Nevada Liaison of the President’s Holocaust Memorial Council, Washington, D.C.
- Member, Board of Directors, Anne Frank Institute, Philadelphia, PA
- Initiated programs with the Clark County School District to bring understanding of the Holocaust throughout the State of Nevada
- Participation in the establishment of the Clark County School District Curriculum Guide in Holocaust Education currently being used
- Instrumental in bringing the "Anne Frank in the World, 1929-1945" exhibit to the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Natural History, UNLV
- In 1992 the Clark County School District named a school, The Edythe and Lloyd Katz Elementary School, in honor of their contributions to the community.
Lloyd Katz (1919-1986) was a prominent member of the Jewish community of Las Vegas and president of the Nevada Theater Corporation. He and his wife Edythe supported a wide range of social and community causes, including civil rights and the Fair Housing Act of Nevada. At a time when the rest of the city was still racially divided, Katz was the first to desegregate his theaters. He also opened them up to religious organizations of any denomination for fundraising events. Katz helped organize the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas (serving as president twice), was a founder of the Jewish Family Services, and was president of Temple Beth Sholom during the planning stages of its synagogue. In 1992, the Edythe and Lloyd Katz Elementary School was named after the couple in recognition of their contributions to the Las Vegas community.
Katz was born in the Bronx, New York on February 10, 1919. He attended City College of New York but did not earn a degree. After living in Arizona for a few years during the 1940s, he moved to Los Angeles and found success in the film industry. He worked in the sales and booking department of Columbia Pictures, and then was a manager for Eagle-Lion Productions in San Francisco. During this time he met his future wife Edythe Sperling; they were married in 1948 and had two sons, Jeffrey and Barry.
In 1951 Lloyd and Edythe moved to Las Vegas to manage three of the four movie theaters in the city: the Huntridge, the Fremont, and the Palace (later called the Guild). He brought first-class premieres to the city, including the original
Katz was also involved in organizations such as the Focus Program (addressing teen drug and alcohol abuse), Young Audiences (for classical music in public schools), and the Bluecoats (assisting families of firefighters and police officers killed during active duty). Lloyd Katz passed away in April 1986.
Edythe and Lloyd Katz Papers, MS-00376. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Materials were donated in 1996 by Edythe Katz-Yarchever. Accession number 1996-17.
Processed by Joyce Moore, 2006.
In 2014, as part of a legacy finding aid conversion project, Dallas Reiber and Joyce Moore revised and enhanced the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards. Dallas Reiber entered the inventory into ArchiveSpace.
This collection contains numerous photographs, some of which were removed and placed in a separate Special Collections photograph collection PH-00250.