Grant Sawyer Papers

Identifier: 97-28
The Special Collections Department received a portion of the papers of Governor Sawyer from his wife, Bette, in 1997. The collection as received consisted of materials which had been stored in the Sawyer home in Las Vegas and constitutes only a small part of the Sawyer papers as a whole. The remaining collection remains in the law offices of Lionel Sawyer and Collins.

The Sawyer collection in the Special Collections Department consist of newspaper clipping files, photographs, certificates, memorabilia, paintings, plaques, diplomas, and three-dimensional objects such as hats, gavels, ground-breaking shovels, and ribbon-cutting scissors. It consists of seven cubic feet, plus assorted items too large to be stored in boxes. There are no restrictions on their access.


  • 1939-1993



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.


9 Cubic Feet (4 boxes)


Included are newspaper clippings from Nevada newspapers documenting Sawyer's years as governor; certificates; photographs; paintings; plaques; and artifacts such as campaign hats, ribbon cutting scissors, flags, and small statues.

Biographical Note

Grant Sawyer was born on December 14, 1918 in Twin Falls, Idaho. He moved with his family to Fallon as a youngster, where his father Harry W. Sawyer, Sr. was a doctor and state senator from Churchill County.

Grant graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, and received a law degree from George Washington University in 1948.

Sawyer served in the U.S. Army Infantry in World War II. After he completed his law degree Sawyer became active in Nevada Democratic politics and was elected Elko County's district attorney in 1950 (1950-1958). He served as the governor of Nevada from 1959-1967 and during his term created the state Equal Rights Commission, pushed for economic development and diversity in the state, and created the Gaming Control Act of 1959 and Nevada Gaming Commission.

After serving as governor, Sawyer formed the law office of Lionel Sawyer & Collins in Las Vegas. He served as chair or was on the board of directors for many political, charitable, and educational organizations.

Sawyer was married to Bette Norene Hoge Sawyer for fifty years; they had one daughter, Gail. Grant Sawyer died on February 19, 1996.

The University of Nevada's Oral History Program conducted an oral history of Governor Sawyer which was published in 1993: Hang Tough!: Grant Sawyer, an Activist in the Governor's Mansion, conducted by Gary Elliott.


Arranged by type of material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Bette Sawyer in 1997.

Separated Materials

This inventory contains a list of clipping topics and description of collection contents by category. All photographs have been transferred to the department's photographic archives. UNRS-P1998-14


An Inventory of the Governor Grant Sawyer Papers
Susan Searcy and Becky Richards
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)