Nevada Historical Society


The Nevada Historical Society Trails West, Inc. Archives
— By Meg Zbierski


Since 2017, the Nevada Historical Society in Reno, NV has been the repository for the records of Trails West, Inc. The current TW archive at the NHS also includes some scrapbooks, plaques, and six bound original Trails West Guides. Prior to this all the records and other items had been stored at the home of TW members Ralph and Sandy Theiss before being transferred to a storage unit in Reno. Besides the cost of renting the storage unit it was not climate controlled which would lead to deterioration of the papers. A better storage option was needed.


As a former archivist, Trails West member Karen Gash made arrangements with the Nevada Historical Society to transfer the records and photo albums to them. She and member Larry Schmidt signed the Deed of Gift for the October 2017 transfer of materials from Trails West, Inc. to the Nevada Historical Society. Karen then spent several weeks arranging the material and writing the finding aid describing the collection (Manuscript Collection 1151).


Since that original 2017 transfer of records to the NHS the Trails West Secretary at the time, Jo Johnston, housed the accumulating records. When Jo stepped downas secretary at the end of 2022 she organized the recordsin her possession for transfer to the Nevada Historical Society. At the 2023 Trails West Convention, Ed Otto and I, the current TW Secretary, transferred much of the material organized by Jo. All of the remaining organized documents and the documents generated in 2023 will be transferred during the 2024 Trails West Convention.


The objective of archiving is to preserve the historical, administrative and legal history of an organization, and doing it regularly reduces risk of losing the information. In 2023 the Trails West, Inc. Board of Directors voted to continue annual transfers. They also recognized that there are costs associated with the storage, maintenance and access to the collection and in appreciation voted to provide an annual donation. Major documents targeted for annual transfer are the Board of Director meeting minutes with committee reports, The Marker, and Liability Waivers for Trails West, Inc. outings. Trails West Board of Director Meeting minutes and The Marker are available for viewing online at the Trails West, Inc. website.


The Trails West, Inc. archive is a physical collection and is available for in person viewing at The Nevada Historical Society by appointment only. A content listingof the Trails West, Inc. archive is available for anyone to view online at: