George A. Bartlett Papers

Identifier: NC1253
The collection was divided into eighteen series. Included were a portion of the Judge's personal library; title pages of those materials were photocopied to preserve a record of his holdings and the books themselves transferred to either the Special Collections or main library book stacks.

Manuscript materials include legal records and related files from law cases for which Bartlett was either the attorney or judge: divorces, probates, mining and water issues, paroles, guardianships, naturalizations, and wills. Other series include family and business correspondence, financial records, biographical materials, Bartlett family legal papers, Bartlett's literary manuscripts and notes, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr.'s manuscript "Swing Your Partner," political campaign files, aviation and National Aeronautical Association files, clippings, and court notebooks and records.


  • 1869-1951



There are no restrictions on use of the collection other than limitations on handling some very fragile materials.


51 Cubic Feet (50 boxes)


Included are legal records and related materials from cases for which Bartlett was either the attorney or judge: divorces, estates, mining and water issues, paroles, guardianships, naturalizations, and wills. Other materials include family and business correspondence; financial records; biographical materials; Bartlett family legal papers; Bartlett's literary writings and notes; Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr.'s manuscript "Swing your partner"

Biographical Note

George Arthur Bartlett was born in San Francisco, California, on November 30, 1869 but moved to Eureka, Nevada, at a young age. Bartlett was educated in Nevada public schools, received a law degree in 1894 from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and returned to Eureka to begin his career practicing law. Bartlett was elected district attorney for Eureka County in 1898 and served a two year term. Bartlett moved his law practice to the new and thriving town of Tonopah in 1901 and five years later was elected to the United States Congress on the Democratic Silver Party ticket. He was re-elected in 1908 and served for two terms.

George Bartlett married Pearl Gates in 1899; they had four children. At the close of his two terms in Congress, the Bartlett's moved to Reno where he practiced law with prominent attorney, Frank N. Norcross. Bartlett was appointed District Judge of Washoe County in 1918 and again in 1921. He was then elected to the bench on his own merits and served from June 1, 1921 to December 31, 1930. On his retirement from the bench, Judge Bartlett devoted his time to private practice.

George Bartlett, one of the state's most prominent men, was very involved in Nevada politics. Bartlett's obituaries claimed he granted more than 20,000 divorces, earning him the sobriquet of "the divorce judge." His views on marriage and divorce, gleaned from his experience in handling scores of divorce cases during his career, were expressed in the book, Men, Women and Conflict, published in 1931 and re-issued in 1947 as Is Marriage Necessary? Bartlett also played a significant role in adjudication of water rights allocations of the Humboldt River and the Carson-Truckee Irrigation District.

Judge George Bartlett died at age 81 in Reno, Nevada, on June 1, 1951.


This collection has been divided into the following series:

Series 1 Divorce cases

Series 2 Estate Cases

Series 3 Court Cases (Miscellaneous)

Series 4 Legal Files and Papers

Series 5 Marriage Licenses

Series 6 Parole Records

Series 7 Mining Records

Series 8 Water

Series 9 Correspondence

Series 10 Financial Records

Series 11 Family Items and Memorabilia

Series 12 Literary Material

Series 13 Political and Government Material

Series 14 Organizations and Companies

Series 15 Newspaper Clippings

Series 16 Printed Material

Series 17 Photographs

Series 18 Books

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Margaret Bartlett Thornton in 1978.

Separated Materials

There is an extensive number of photographs (originally contained in four archival boxes); they have been transferred to the Special Collections photographic archives and cataloged as photo collection P90-02.

A Part of

Nevada women's archives.
A Guide to the Papers of George A. Bartlett
Lenore Kosso
Description rules

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)