Edna B. Patterson Research Papers and Interviews

Identifier: 95-87

Scope and Contents

The Edna B. Patterson research materials and interviews pertain largely to northeastern Nevada, its early settlement, the people who pioneered there, and the topics of ranching, forestry, and medical care in that area of Nevada.

A variety of sources were used to gather together this body of research: research into newspapers and public records, interviews with "old-timers," family histories, and historical notes and papers written by others.

The collection consists of photocopies of originals which Mrs. Patterson plans to donate to the Northeastern Nevada Museum.


  • 1915-1994


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.

Conditions Governing Use

Credit must be given to the author and collection donor.

Biographical Note

Edna Burke Patterson was born in Kansas on May 18, 1907. She attended two years of the Colorado Teachers College in Greely, Colorado, and decided to test the profession before finishing her formal education. She was hired as a teacher in Lamoille, Nevada, in about 1927. At the end of the first year she married the clerk of the school board, John Malcolm Patterson and within a few years they were living on the Patterson family ranch at Lamoille.

During the years that her oldest son attended high school, Edna and her children lived in Elko on weekdays, where she began to gather notes about life in historical Elko and to interview long-time residents. She started writing for the local newspaper and eventually published several books on the history of northeast Nevada, including Who Named It, Nevada's Northeast Frontier, Sagebrush Doctors, This Land Was Ours, Halleck Country, and Indian Paint Brush. She authored many articles for magazine and historical journals.

Mrs. Patterson was a member of the State Central Republican Committee and the Nevada State Board of Education, on which she served as the first woman president. She was a founder of the Northeastern Nevada Historical Society, was instrumental in the establishment of the Northeastern Nevada Museum, and served on the Museum's board of directors. She was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Distinguished Nevadan Award from the University of Nevada in 1984.


1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



Edna Burke Patterson was a member of the State Central Republican Committee and the Nevada State Board of Education, on which she served as the first woman president.Research notes and articles about the history of northeastern Nevada: Elko, physicians, cattle and cattle ranching, women, Ruby Valley, Lamoille, Mountain City, Jarbidge, early settlers, and native Americans. Other authors include Lulu Bowman and Charles B. Russell (1915-1994).


The collection is arranged as it was received from Mrs. Patterson; duplicate materials were removed. Original titles have been retained; where no title existed, one has been supplied.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Edna Patterson in 1995.

Related Materials

In 1992 Mrs. Patterson finished her unpublished autobiography, entitled "Home Means Nevada: The Autobiography of Edna B. Patterson and the History of the Patterson Family and Their Life in Nevada." A copy is in the manuscript collections of the Special Collections Department (collection number 94-09).

A Part of

Nevada women's archives.


Guide to the Research Papers and Interviews of Edna B. Patterson
Susan Searcy
November 1995
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)