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Bill Willard Photograph Collection (PH-00333)

Abstract

The Bill Willard Photograph Collection depicts Las Vegas, Nevada, hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Valley, and Laughlin, Nevada from 1905 to 1919 and from 1940 to 1999. The photographs primarily depict hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, including the Sahara Hotel, Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, MGM Grand Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Caesars Palace, Flamingo Hotel, and the Aladdin Hotel. The photographs also depict students at Nevada Southern University (predecessor of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas), the city of Las Vegas, industrial plants in Henderson and Apex, Nevada, and events in Laughlin, Nevada.

Finding Aid - PDF
Date
1905-1919, 1940-1999
Extent
0.6 Linear Feet (6 hanging files and 1 shared box of negatives)
0.67 Cubic Feet (6 hanging files and 1 shared box of negatives)
Resource Type
Collection
Creator/Contributor Links
Creator: Willard, Bill
Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Some collection material has been digitized and is available online.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.

Collection Type
Scope and Contents

The Bill Willard Photograph Collection depicts Las Vegas, Nevada, hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Valley, and Laughlin, Nevada from 1905 to 1919 and from 1940 to 1999. The photographs primarily depict hotels and casinos in Las Vegas, including the Sahara Hotel, Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, MGM Grand Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Caesars Palace, Flamingo Hotel, and the Aladdin Hotel. The photographs also depict students at Nevada Southern University (predecessor of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas), the city of Las Vegas, industrial plants in Henderson and Apex, Nevada, and events in Laughlin, Nevada. The items described include photographic prints and negatives; items listed are photographic prints unless otherwise specified.

Biographical / Historical Note

Writer, actor, and producer Bill Willard was born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1913. He followed his father into the arts and began studying theater and art in 1930. During the Second World War, Willard was drafted into the U.S. Army, and he worked at Torney General Hospital in Palm Springs and Birmingham Hospital in Van Nuys, both in California. During his tour of duty, he produced radio shows broadcasted by the Armed Forces Radio Network. He was discharged in 1946, but he continued working for the Armed Forces Radio Network until 1949, when he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada to produce a radio show for the Last Frontier Hotel. Although his first radio show was never launched, Willard stayed in Las Vegas rather than returning to Hollywood, California. He produced shows for Las Vegas radio stations KENO and KRAM, and he became the entertainment editor for the Las Vegas Sun.

In 1949 the Thunderbird Hotel hired Willard to write and direct the “Branding Iron” revue. He also performed in the Birdcage Theatre at the Last Frontier Village, and he became a regular performer with Hank Henry. During the 1950s, he performed at several venues, and eventually he started his own public relations agency, Public Relation Advertising (PRA). In 1966 he briefly suspended his agency while he worked as the executive director of the Nevada State Council on the Arts, and he returned to the PRA in 1967. In addition to his work as an agent and producer, Willard remained active as a performer as well. He was the co-anchor of the nightly news on KSHO TV, a contributor to KLAS TV, and he co-starred in plays at the Meadows Playhouse in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1983 he became the entertainment critic of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In 1989 he became Director of the Arnold Shaw Popular Music Research Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Willard died in 2000.

Sources:

“Bill and Lucy Willard,” Arnold Shaw Center. University of Nevada, Las Vegas. http://asc.unlv.edu/willard.html

Arrangement

Materials have been arranged into three series:

Series I. Las Vegas, Nevada hotels and casinos photographs, 1940-1999;

Series II. Las Vegas Valley photographs, 1905-1919 and 1940-1999;

Series III. Laughlin, Nevada photographs, 1970-1990.

Related Materials

The following resources may provide additional information related to the materials in this collection:

Bill Willard Collection, 1887-1999. MS-00435. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Willard, Bill. Interview, July 18, 1997. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Preferred Citation

Bill Willard Photograph Collection, 1905-1919, 1940-1999. PH-00333. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

EAD ID
US::NvLN::PH00333
Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials were donated in 2001 by Bill Willard via Ken Hanlon; accession number 2001-17.

Processing Information

Materials were processed by Special Collections staff. In 2016, as part of a legacy finding aid conversion project, Lindsay Oden wrote the collection description in compliance with current professional standards.

Finding Aid Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
English