Gloria Griffen Cline Papers

Identifier: NC1041

Scope and Contents

The Gloria Griffen Cline Papers are divided into two series: Series 1, personal papers; and Series 2, academic studies and professional career papers. Series 1 is the smaller of the two and includes some diaries, 1940-1954; a small amount of personal correspondence; school and university records (including Reno High School Yearbooks); legal records; address, baby, wedding, and funeral books; travel documents; photographs; and scrapbooks.

Series 2 contains Dr. Cline's professional correspondence, M.A. thesis, Ph.D. dissertation, Faculty Research Lecture from Sacramento State College, manuscript and typescript drafts of her two books and numerous articles, reviews written about her works, her reviews of scholarly works of other historians, photos and maps for her books, research notes, bibliography cards, lecture notes, and course syllabuses used in her college class lectures.


  • 1912-1984


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

The daughter of Robert A. and Grace Gillespie Griffen, Gloria Griffen Cline Harrison was born in San Francisco on March 21, 1929. The Griffens moved to Reno, Nevada in 1931 where Gloria attended local grammar schools and Reno High School, graduating in 1947. She enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno, majored in history, and joined the Delta Delta Delta sorority. After graduating in 1950, she attended graduate school at UNR and received her M.A. in history in 1951. After a break of several years she applied and was accepted into the Ph.D. program in history at the University of California, Berkeley. She received her degree in 1958.

Gloria was married twice: first to Dean Forbes Cline in 1957 (divorced in 1963) and then to John Harrison in 1966. Harrison was a citizen of Ireland, and the Harrisons made their residence there. They were, however, in the process of moving permanently to the United States when Gloria died on April 2, 1973 as a result of a fall.

After receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Cline taught at several colleges and universities, including Nevada Southern University (which became the University of Nevada, Las Vegas), Indiana University, and the University of Nevada, Reno. In 1960, she took a permanent position in the history department at Sacramento State College (SSC), where she became the first woman to win the college's Annual Faculty Research Award in 1965. Gloria resigned her Associate Professor of History position at SSC in 1966 to move to Ireland with her new husband. In England she was a lecturer at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge University.

Cline first became interested in early European exploration of the Great Basin of the western United States when she accompanied her parents on summer trips to Montana as a child. Her M.A. thesis was titled "Early Exploration, Routes, and Trails in Nevada." She expanded that theme for her Ph.D. dissertation to include a wider geographic region. The title of her dissertation was "A History of Exploration in the Great Basin." During this period she utilized manuscript repositories extensively in both the U.S. and Canada. Eventually she gained access to the archives of the Hudson's Bay Company; that research formed the basis of a number of articles for scholarly journals and for two books. Her first book, published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 1963, was entitled Exploring the Great Basin, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Her second book was completed just before her death and published posthumously in 1973 by the University of Oklahoma Press as Peter Skene Ogden and the Hudson's Bay Company. Cline was a member of several honor societies including the Western Writers Association, and the Western History Society Silver Key, and was listed in a number of Who's Who books, the Directory of International Biography, Contemporary Authors, and Directory of American Scholars.

Gloria, an only child, had no children by either of her marriages. At the time of her death, her father was very ill with cancer. Having no other close heirs, the Griffens decided to endow the reading room of the Special Collections Department in the Getchell Library Building at UNR. After Robert's death in 1974, Grace donated the family's extensive collection of western Americana books and Native American artifacts to the Department, as well as this collection of Gloria Griffen Cline Papers. Grace died in 1983, at which time the Robert A. and Grace Griffen Papers were also donated to the Special Collections Department.


9 Linear Feet (12 boxes, 2 oversize folders)

Language of Materials



Gloria Griffen Cline (1929-1973) was a historian; professor of history at Sacramento State College, 1961-1966; and author of books and scholarly articles on Peter Skene Ogden and the Hudson's Bay Company, early exploration of Nevada and the Great Basin of the western U.S., and fur trappers and traders. The collection includes diaries; legal papers; correspondence; Cline's M.A. thesis and Ph.D. dissertation; research notes and manuscript drafts of Cline's two books, Exploring the Great Basin, and Peter Skene Ogden and the Hudson's Bay Company; copies of her articles for scholarly historical journals; lecture notes and exams used in her teaching career; book reviews authored by Cline and about her publications; newspaper clippings; scrapbooks; high school and college memorabilia; and photographs.


Arranged into the following series: 1) Personal Papers; 2) Academic Studies and Professional Career Papers

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Grace and Robert A. Griffen in 1974.

Related Materials

84-08: Robert A. and Grace Griffen Papers

Separated Materials

Photographs transferred to the Special Collections Department photo archive as collection number UNRS-P1991-51.


Guide to the Gloria Griffin Cline Papers
Susan Searcy
February 1992
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)