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Jean Ford Papers (MS-00025)


The Jean Ford Papers (1958-1996) include political documents, campaign materials for Jean Ford's political campaigns, and materials pertaining to campaign issues such as health services, general improvement districts, and parks and recreation. There is extensive material on Red Rock National Conservation Area, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and the National Issues Forum. Women's issues cover the years 1964-1981 and contain information relating to the League of Women Voters, Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and International Women's Year (IWY), as well as Anti-ERA and Anti-IWY materials.

Finding Aid PDF




17.93 Cubic Feet (39 boxes, 1 oversized box)
16.25 Linear Feet

Related People/Corporations

Scope and Contents Note

The Jean Ford Papers (1958-1996) consist of campaign materials, committee minutes, health services information, general improvements, National Issues Forum, and parks and recreation materials in Nevada. There are also mailing lists, financial records, fund-raising activities, correspondence, and newspaper clippings. There is extensive material on Red Rock National Conservation Area and Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Women's issues cover the years 1964-1981 and contain information about papers relating to the League of Women Voters, Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and International Women's Year (IWY), as well as Anti-ERA/Anti-IWY materials.

There is one box of oversize materials containing two calendars, a map, three posters, and several artifacts.

Access Note

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

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 four series:

Series I. Political materials, 1958-1990;

Series II. Women's issues papers, 1964-1981;

Series III. Oversized items and artifacts, 1970s-1980s;

Series IV. Additional accession, 1972-1996.

Biographical / Historical Note

Nevada politician and women's advocate Imogene "Jean" Young was born in Miami, Oklahoma, on December 28, 1929, to Daisy Adelphia (Flook) and Clarence Nathan Young. She had one brother, Byron Young. Her family moved to Joplin, Missouri, where she attended kindergarten through high school. In 1951 she graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas with a B.A. in Sociology. After graduation she worked as a recreational therapist for the American Red Cross in military hospitals until 1955.

In 1955 she married Dr. Samuel M. Ford, a dermatologist. The Fords moved to Clark County, Nevada in 1962. Jean Ford served as a teacher's aide in the Clark County School District during the 1963-1964 academic year. The Fords had two daughters, Janet and Carla. She attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as a graduate student, and received her M.A. in Public Administration in 1978.

Ford was active in numerous civic and political activities in Southern Nevada. She chaired the ad hoc Library Committee which brought about the creation of the Clark County Library District from 1964 to 1965. In 1967 Governor Paul Laxalt appointed Ford to the Nevada State Park Commission. She served on the Commission until 1973, under both Democratic and Republican governors. She was also appointed by Rogers Morton, Secretary of the Interior, to serve on the Western Region Advisory Committee for National Parks.

As a member of the League of Women Voters, Ford served as local president from 1965 to 1967. She was on the State Board from 1967 to 1969, and was state president from 1969 to 1971. As an active League member, Ford conducted workshops on human relations and practical politics. She coordinated county studies for planning and zoning, parks and recreation, and a state study on juvenile delinquency. One of Ford's projects was the designation of Red Rock as a public recreation area rather than a private development. Ford also served as a League of Women Voters Lobbyist during the 1971 legislative session. In 1972 she was a member of the Solid Waste Pollution Control Committee, the Regional Planning Council, and the Land Use Advisory Committee to the Legislative Sub-Committee on the Environment.

Jean Ford was elected to the Nevada State Assembly as a Republican in 1972 and served two terms. After losing her bid for the State Senate in 1976, she changed her political party affiliation to Democrat and ran again for State Senate in 1978. She was successful and served one term from 1978 to 1982.

From 1980 to 1981 she operated a consulting firm, Jean Ford Associates, formed with four other women. She chose not to run for office again, and formed the Jean Ford Company, which she operated from 1982 to 1985. During this time she also formed Nevada Discovery Tours with Maxine Peterson as her partner.

In 1985 Ford was appointed to the cabinet level position of Director of the Governor's Office of Community Service by Nevada Governor Richard Bryan. She moved to Carson City and served in this position until 1989. From 1989 to 1991, she was manager of Reno Tahoe Company, a destination management company providing tourism related services. Beginning in 1991 Ford acted as program coordinator and instructor in the Women's Studies Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. Ford conceived the idea for the Nevada Women's Archives in 1992 at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 1994 she expanded the program to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus. She actively worked to acquire archival collections for both campuses.

Along with a small group of women from northern Nevada, Ford went on to found the Nevada Women's History Project, which included a northern and southern region. In September 1997 Ford was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. She died on August 26, 1998. She spent the last year of her life working on women's history projects and organizing her research files and slide collection.

Source: Jean Ford: A Nevada Woman Leads the Way. HQ1236.5 U6 F67 1998 located in Special Collections and Archives, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas.

Preferred Citation

Jean Ford Papers, 1958-1996. MS-00025. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Acquisition Note

Materials were donated beginning in 1977 by Jean Ford. The Ford papers were acquired in five accessions; T-106, T-107, 85-86, 85-111, and 86-61. These five accessions were combined under the number MS-00025 during the processing of the collections. A final accession donated by Carol Corbett was added and processed under the MS-00025 number in 2018.

Processing Note

Papers were processed in 1998 by Marie Imus. In 2017, Joyce Moore revised and enhanced the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards. In 2018, Joyce Moore added and processed an additional accession.

Resource Type


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Separated Materials

Some of the photographs in this acquisition were removed from the collection and placed in Jean Ford Photograph Collection, 1958-1990. PH-0295. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

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