The Sands Hotel Public Relations Records document the history of the Las Vegas casino and hotel from 1952 to 1977. It is comprised primarily of photographs, mostly 8x10 black-and-white prints, color prints, and transparencies. Most were produced by the Las Vegas News Bureau. Also included are newspaper clippings, brochures, press releases, and inter-office memos relating to the advertising and promotion department. Materials also include reels of 16mm film of the Sands opening, various shows and events including Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin's "Summit Meeting" performances with the Rat Pack, and footage from various television productions filmed at the Sands.
Finding Aid PDF
Scope and Contents Note
The Sands Hotel Public Relations Records document the history of the Las Vegas casino hotel resort from 1952 to 1977. The Collection is comprised essentially of the files of Al Freeman, Director of Advertising and Promotion at the Sands Hotel from 1952 until his death in 1972. It is composed primarily of photographs, mostly 8x10 black and white prints, color prints, and transparencies. Most images were produced by the Las Vegas News Bureau. There are also newspaper clippings, brochures, press releases and inter-office memos relating to the Sands advertising and promotion department. Most files concern major entertainers and their shows, hotel productions such as the Copa Girls, promotional campaigns, conventions, motion pictures, publicity photos of celebrity guests and their parties, and publicity photos of the hotel building, its rooms and facilities. Materials also include reels of 16mm film of the Sands opening, various shows and events including Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin's "Summit Meeting" performances with the Rat Pack, and footage from various television productions featuring the Sands.
Collection is open for research. Arrangements must be made in advance to access digital files; please contact UNLV Special Collections and Archives for additional information.
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.
The collection is divided into twenty-four series:
Series I. General, 1954-1970;
Series II. Jack Entratter, 1953-1965;
Series III. Jack Entratter with Stars, 1960s;
Series IV. Correspondence with Al Freeman, 1955-1972;
Series V. General Correspondence, 1956-1969;
Series VI. Anniversaries of the Hotel Opening, 1953-1970;
Series VII. Entertainers, 1953-1968;
Series VIII. Hotel Interior and Exterior, 1961-1968;
Series IX. Copa Girls, 1952-1967;
Series X. Employees, 1963-1979;
Series XI. Red Skelton, 1948-1969;
Series XII. Louis Prima, 1966-1968;
Series XIII. Tournaments, 1958-1969;
Series XIV. Tours, 1965-1967;
Series XV. Angelita's Bread, 1958-1961;
Series XVI. Conventions, 1959-1971;
Series XVII. Promotions, 1954-1972;
Series XVIII. Television, Radio Shows and Movies, 1953-1972;
Series XIX. New Years Eve Celebrations, 1956-1970;
Series XX. Helldorado Parades, 1953-1963;
Series XXI. Movie Posters, undated;
Series XXII. Social Functions, 1952-1969;
Series XXIII. Audio Tapes and Promotions, 1955-1966;
Series XXIV. Sands News Bureau Scrapbooks, 1953-1959.
Biographical / Historical Note
The Sands Hotel opened in Las Vegas, Nevada in December 1952. A controversial group of investors fronted by Texas gambler and oilman, Jake Freedman, and New York nightclub boss, Jack Entratter, built what was considered at the time one of the world's most lavish hotels and a showcase Las Vegas resort. Freedman purchased the land itself for $15,000 and spent $600,000 on the construction. The Sands was designed by Googie California architect Wayne McAllister. The combination of Entratter's connections in the entertainment world (from his days at the Copacabana Club in New York) with extravagant spending assured the Sands a preeminent place in show business for top-name entertainers and shows. In the Sands' famous Copa Room, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. performed in the 1950s and 1960s surrounded by legions of glamorous Copa Girls in beautiful costumes.
After the death of Jake Freedman in 1958, Entratter and Carl Cohen, the casino boss, took over the hotel as President and Vice-President. The original hotel was a series of low-rise structures. In 1963 construction of the 15-story circular tower began, part of an overall expansion and renovation as a major convention facility. Howard Hughes acquired the hotel in 1967 from Entratter and Cohen for $23 million and planned a "new Sands," a huge 400 room resort, which he never built. Dallas-based Inns of the Americas, Inc. purchased the Sands from Hughes' Summa Corporation in 1981 and re-opened the "new Sands" in January 1982, with a totally renovated 30,000 square foot casino, twice the size of the original. Kirk Kerkorian's MGM Grand, Inc. owned the hotel briefly in 1988, but quickly sold it to Sheldon Adelson, chairman of the Interface Group, for $110 million. Adelson, a producer of trade shows, built a 575,000-square foot convention facility, the Sands Expo and Convention Center which opened in 1990. Further expansion, including a new high-rise tower, was planned but never realized.
The hotel was officially closed on June 30, 1996. Later that year, scenes from the Nicolas Cage film
Sands Hotel Public Relations Records, 1952-1977. MS-00417. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Materials were donated in 1980 by Al Guzman, Advertising and Public Relations Director for the Sands Hotel; accession number 2000-012.
The collection was processed by Joyce Marshall Moore in 2000. In 2014, Hana Gutierrez and Karla Irwin revised the collection to bring it into compliance with DACS. In 2017, Sarah Jones processed an additional accession and updated the box numbers. In 2018, Joyce Moore revised and enhanced the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards. In 2018, due to insurmountable preservation issues, Digital Collections staff digitized select materials from the collection for preservation purposes and discarded the originals. In 2019, James Howard revised the finding aid in ArchivesSpace and added a missing item. In 2020, Jimmy Chang added materials to the collection.
Some of the photographs in this acquisition were removed from the collection and placed in Sands Hotel Photographs, 1952-1972. PH-00287. Special Collections and Archives, Lied Library, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.