The collection (1914-2000) documents the history of the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) and is comprised of photographs of sign production and finished signs, negatives, slides, transparencies, anniversary scrapbooks, and videotapes. The collection also contains meeting minutes, correspondence, price books, drawings, calculations, newspaper and trade magazine articles on YESCO, advertising materials, and oral history interviews and audio recordings of YESCO designers and executives. YESCO is responsible for many of the neon signs in and around Las Vegas, Nevada and Reno, Nevada, as well as other Western states.
Finding Aid PDF
Scope and Contents Note
The Young Electric Sign Company Corporate Records (1914-2000) document the history of the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) and are comprised of photographs, negatives, slides, anniversary scrapbooks, and videotapes. The collection also contains meeting minutes, correspondence, price books, drawings, calculations, oral history interviews and audio recordings of YESCO designers and executives, advertising materials, and newspaper and trade magazine articles on YESCO. The collection also contains digital files that are duplicates of some of the photographs and documents throughout the collection. While the collection is primarily corporate records, it also contains Young family photographs and recollections. YESCO is responsible for many of the neon signs in and around Las Vegas, Nevada and Reno, Nevada, as well as other Western states.
Collection is open for research. Where use copies do not exist, production of use copies is required before access will be granted; this may delay research requests. Advanced notice is required. Arrangements must be made in advance to access digital files; please contact UNLV Special Collections and Archives for additional information.
Oral histories in this collection have been assigned oral history collection numbers (OH-#####). If requesting access to oral history digital files, please provide the oral history collection number(s) to Special Collections & Archives staff.
Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish. No release form is on file for the interviews. The interview is accessible on site only, and researchers must seek permission from the interviewee or heirs for quotation, reproduction, or publication. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
These records are organized into three series:
Series I. Corporate records and correspondence, 1920-2000;
Series II. Visual material, 1914-1988;
Series III. Newspaper clippings and publications, 1930-1992.
Biographical / Historical Note
The Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) was founded by Thomas Young, Senior (1895-1971) in 1920 in Ogden, Utah. YESCO built many of the neon signs in and around Las Vegas, Nevada and Reno, Nevada, as well as other Western states. It was one of the first companies to create neon signs for customers in the Intermountain West, including Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Nevada. The company eventually grew from five to nearly two thousand employees in multiple states.
Thomas Young, Senior trained as a sign writer as a youth in England and arrived in the United States with his family when he was 15 years old. In 1920, he borrowed $300 from his father, George W. Young, and founded his own company, specializing in lighted signs, wall-painted advertisements, gold-lead lettering, and coffin plates. During the 1920s, YESCO began manufacturing neon tubing and selling neon signs in the Western United States. Despite the Great Depression, YESCO expanded their business to Nevada and opened a branch office in Las Vegas in the 1940s. They built many of the iconic Las Vegas signs, including
Thomas Young, Junior (1928- ) worked for YESCO and was named company president in the 1960s. He photographed and/or filmed almost every sign the company made during the post-war boom in Las Vegas and other local markets, capturing images of early neon signs on Fremont Street and the growth of the Las Vegas Strip during the 1950s. Young family members continue to be actively involved in the management of YESCO and expanded the business to include additional national and international franchises.
Young Electric Sign Company. “Take a Tour Back Through History.” Accessed May 03, 2018. http://www.yesco.com/company/take-a-tour-back-through-history/
Young Electric Sign Company Corporate Records, 1914-2000. MS-00403. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Materials were donated in 1998 by Thomas Young, Junior; accession number 98-12.
In 2015, Digital Collections staff reformatted all audiocassettes into a digital file format. In 2018, as a part of an archival backlog elimination project, Sarah Jones and Gayle O'Hara rehoused and arranged the materials, entered the data in ArchivesSpace, and revised the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards. In 2019, Sarah Jones processed the digital materials stored on optical discs.