History and Mission

Nevada Historical Society

First Director, 1904-1950
Jeanne Elizabeth Wier

Jeanne Elizabeth Wier

A native of Iowa, where she was born in 1870, Jeanne Wier was educated and taught school in that state before moving to Oregon, where she also taught school. She entered Stanford University in California as a part-time student in 1895, and in 1899 was hired to teach history at the University of Nevada in Reno – two years before she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford. She went on to become a professor in the department of History and Political Science and served as department head for many years before her retirement in 1940.

It was, however, Wier’s extracurricular activities that allowed her to leave her most lasting mark on Nevada. She was deeply involved with the women’s suffrage movement in the state, and for almost half a century, from the time she helped found the institution in 1904 until her death in 1950, she led the Nevada Historical Society. In her capacity as executive secretary, she provided essential leadership for the NHS in its early years, establishing its structure and basic activities, developing its library and museum collections, and securing quarters for those collections. She also developed a program for publishing historical writings and documents. By recognizing the importance of preserving the state’s history and making it accessible to everyone, and by fostering the principal institution that has worked to achieve those goals, Jeanne Wier left succeeding generations of Nevadans, and all those interested in the state’s history, in her debt.

To learn more about this fascinating woman, check out the Wier suffragist biography on the Nevada Women’s History Project website.

Learn about how the Nevada Historical Society was shaped by Wier’s role as Director in the NHS Quarterly Spring 2004 article, “One Hundred Year’s of History in Nevada.”

NHS Mission
Founded in 1904, the Nevada Historical Society seeks to advance the study of the heritage of Nevada, the Great Basin, and the West. The mission of the NHS is to collect, preserve, and educate the public about our shared history through exhibitions, artifacts, books, photographs, and manuscript materials relating to the state of Nevada, the Great Basin, and the West.

Division of Museums & History

The Division of Museums and History preserves, shares, and promotes the understanding, and celebration of Nevada’s natural and cultural heritage for the enrichment of all generations.

Recognized as the most trusted stewards and engaging storytellers of Nevada’s heritage.

We will work as a team to build consensus and fulfill our vision, putting the public’s needs first while adhering to the highest professional standards.