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Claudine Williams Papers (MS-00094)

Abstract

The Claudine Williams Papers (1956-2009) contain awards, contracts, personal and business correspondence, newspaper clippings, and photographs pertaining to Las Vegas, Nevada businesswoman and philanthropist, Claudine Williams. The collection also includes extensive information on her hotel and gaming properties, including the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall, Holiday Casino, and Harrah's Hotel and Casino, as well as her honorary doctoral degree, medals, and audiovisual materials of interviews, news reports, and events.

Finding Aid PDF
Date
1956-2009
bulk 1970 to 2007
Extent
15.20 Cubic Feet (25 boxes, 3 oversized boxes, 1 flat file, and 1 shared box)
19.09 Linear Feet
Resource Type
Papers
Related People/Corporations
Access Note

Collection is open for research with the exception of some materials, which are closed in accordance with Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 463.120 and to protect personally identifiable information. Restrictions are noted at the file level of this inventory, and some will be open for research use January 1, 2069.

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.

Collection Type
Scope and Contents Note

The Claudine Williams Papers (1956-2009) contain awards, contracts, personal and business correspondence, newspaper clippings, and photographs pertaining to Las Vegas, Nevada businesswoman and philanthropist, Claudine Williams. The collection also includes extensive information on her hotel and gaming properties, including the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall, Holiday Casino, and Harrah's Hotel and Casino, as well as her honorary doctoral degree, medals, and audiovisual materials of interviews, news reports, and events.

Biographical / Historical Note

Claudine Barbara Williams was born on March 17, 1921 in Mansfield, Louisiana. Her family later moved to Dallas, Texas, where at the age of fifteen she began working at a casino nightclub operated by Benny Binion. At the age of twenty-one, Williams bought a Houston steakhouse and casino, paid back the loan ahead of schedule, and used the profits to launch her business empire.

In the 1940s, Claudine met her future husband, Shelby Williams. They were married on February 19, 1950 and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1964. They purchased the Silver Slipper Casino, which they operated until 1969, when they sold it to Howard Hughes. The couple took over the River Queen Casino 1973, renaming it the Holiday Casino. After Shelby’s death in 1977, Claudine became the first woman casino president and general manager in Nevada gaming history. In 1983, the Holiday Inn Corporation acquired full ownership of the casino and hotel, as well as its subsidiary, Harrah's. Harrah's Entertainment, no longer a subsidiary of Holiday Inn, took over the property in 1992.

Claudine, along with several others, created the American Bank of Commerce. She became the first woman in Nevada history to chair a bank’s board of directors. She also served on several government, business, and charity boards throughout her lifetime. In 1989, she helped establish a scholarship fund in her husband's name at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) College of Hotel Administration. She also personally donated funds to UNLV for a dormitory construction project. To honor Claudine, UNLV named the residence hall after her, and in 1994, UNLV bestowed an honorary doctoral degree upon her.

Claudine Williams passed away on May 13, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Sources:

“Claudine Williams.” Women in Nevada History. Accessed March 12, 2019. https://womennvhistory.com/portfolio/claudine-williams/

“Casino Owner, Philanthropist Claudine Williams dies at 88.” Las Vegas Sun. May 13, 2009. Accessed March 12, 2019. https://lasvegassun.com/news/2009/may/13/casino-owner-philanthropist-claudine-williams-dies/

"Dreaming the Skyline. Holiday/Harrah's." UNLV University Libraries. Digital Collections. Accessed March 28, 2019. https://digital.library.unlv.edu/skyline/hotel/holidayharrahs

Arrangement

This collection is organized into four series:

I. Personal papers, 1956-2009;

II. Civic and community activity papers and photographs, 1967, 1978-2005;

III. Hotel and casino property records, 1961-2004;

IV. Audiovisual materials, 1982-2007.

Related Collections

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

Claudine Williams Photograph Collection. PH-00351. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Williams, Claudine. Interview, 1997 October 20, 2005 October 09. OH-03386. Transcript. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Preferred Citation

Claudine Williams Papers, 1956-2009. MS-00094. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

EAD ID
US::NvLN::MS00094
Acquisition Note

Material was donated in 2007 and 2009 by the Claudine Williams estate; accession numbers 2007-09 and 2009-19.

Processing Note

Material was partially processed by Wendy Halford in 2010 and completed by Joyce Moore in 2014. In 2017, as part of a legacy finding aid conversion project, Joyce Moore revised and enhanced the collection description and entered the data into and ArchivesSpace. In 2019, as part of an archival backlog elimination project, Christina Lamoureux rehoused part of the collection and revised the collection description to bring it into compliance with current professional standards.

Finding Aid Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
English