Sessions S. Wheeler Papers
Scope and Contents
The Sessions S. Wheeler Papers consist entirely of materials related to Wheeler's published writings: manuscripts in draft and edited formats, research notes and tapes, original papers and records of Max C. Fleischmann, photographs, and newspaper clippings. Wheeler's personal papers were inherited by his family members and are not included in this collection.
The bulk of the collection consists of manuscripts of Wheeler's published books, plus his unfinished autobiography, Sagebrush, Pine Trees and Youth. The manuscripts include prospectus for The Indian War of Nevada's Black Rock Desert During the Years 1865 and 1866, and The Black Rock-Smoke Desert. The Story of Nevada's Historic Desert Playa; and clean and marked-up manuscript typescripts of Wheeler's other books. This collection does not include manuscripts for Wheeler's University of Nevada thesis (which is available in University Archives, thesis no. 50), Nevada's Black Rock Desert, his conservation text-books, or any of his newspaper columns.
Supplementing these manuscripts are research notes, newspaper clippings, and other materials used as sources for Wheeler's non-fiction materials. There is an extensive amount of original Fleischmann papers and records, evidently given to Wheeler by Sarah Fleischmann after her husband's death. The Fleischmann materials relate primarily to the Major's outdoor activities, interests, and scientific expeditions and include an extensive number of photographs, some of which were used in Wheeler's biography of the Major.
There is also a series which contains speeches and scripts for slide shows which Wheeler gave about conservation and the Black Rock Desert.
The last series also contains research materials related to one or more of the topics on which Wheeler wrote, but of a such a general nature that they could not be filed with a particular manuscript. The topics of this series are arranged alphabetically. Of note in the "Individuals" section is a biographical essay by Monique Laxalt Urza on Craig and Yolanda Sheppard and their family.
- Majority of material found within 1928-1992
- Wheeler, Sessions S. (Creator, Person)
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.
Sessions Samuel "Buck" Wheeler was born April 27, 1911 on a ranch near Fernley, Nevada, to Lister and Lythia Wheeler. In 1915 the family moved to Reno, where Buck attended Reno grammar schools and graduated from Reno High School. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1934 and a Master of Science degree in 1935, both from the University of Nevada, Reno. He was married twice: once to Marge (divorced just prior to January 31, 1941) and to Nevada Hazel Pedroli in April, 1948. They had no children; Nevada died November 19, 1996, and Sessions passed away on August 25, 1998.
Wheeler's love of the Nevada desert and countryside developed early and was further enhanced by his experience as a young man working for a survey crew for the U.S. General Land Office. His unfinished autobiography details a part of that experience. He taught biology at Reno High School for thirty years and summer classes in conservation at his alma mater, spent three years as the first director of the Nevada Fish and Game Commission (1947-1950), and was an avid fisherman. He co-authored two text books on conservation and integrated conservation into his class curriculum. He and close friends such as Craig Sheppard and Kenneth Carpenter made many trips to the Black Rock Desert, studying, observing, painting, and photographing the desert landscape. His desert experiences and extensive research were compiled into several books.
Buck met Major Max C. Fleischmann in 1939 while golfing at Glenbrook, Lake Tahoe. Both shared sports interests, a concern for and love of the outdoors, and fishing. Wheeler's biography of Fleischmann focuses on those interests and is as much about himself as it is about the Major. Their mutual respect lead to Wheeler's appointment as a trustee of the Fleischmann Foundation after the Major's death in 1951, a position Buck filled until the foundation was dissolved in 1980.
Wheeler also served on the board of the Nevada State Museum. He received the Conservationist of the Year award, Outstanding Biology Teacher award, and the Distinguished Nevadan Award from the University of Nevada in 1963. He was listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.
In addition to his two text books on conservation, Wheeler and William O. Bay co-authored a column for the Reno Evening Gazette called "Nevada Sage & Stream. Wheeler also wrote the following:
-Poplar and Willow Canker: A Serious Disease of Shade Trees in Nevada. Master's thesis, University of Nevada, Reno. 1935.
-Paiute. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1965. Reprinted several times.
-The Nevada Desert. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1971.
-Nevada's Black Rock Desert, illustrated by J. Craig Sheppard. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1978.
-The Black Rock Desert, illustrated by J. Craig Sheppard. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1978.
-Nevada Desert Sheepman by Reginald Meaker as told to Sessions S. Wheeler and Gerald Meaker. Sparks, Nevada: Western Printing and Publishing Company, 1981.
-Gentleman in the Outdoors: A Portrait of Max C. Fleischmann. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1985.
-The Desert Lake: The Story of Nevada's Pyramid Lake. (Revised ed). Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1987.
-Tahoe Heritage: The Bliss Family of Glenbrook, Nevada by Sessions S. Wheeler with William W. Bliss. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1992.
-"Sagebrush, Pine Trees and Youth." Unpublished, incomplete autobiography.
5.25 Linear Feet (6 boxes, 3 oversize folders, 1 shared box)
Language of Materials
Sessions S. Wheeler served on the board of the Nevada State Museum. He received the Conservationist of the Year award, Outstanding Biology Teacher award, and the Distinguished Nevadan Award from the University of Nevada in 1963. The collection consists entirely of materials related to Wheeler's published writings: manuscripts in draft and edited formats, research notes and tapes, original papers and records of Max C. Fleischmann, photographs, and newspaper clippings.
Arranged into the following series: 1) Manuscripts and Related Research Files; 2) Speeches and Scripts for Slide Shows; 3) Research Notes
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by the Sessions Wheeler estate in 1998.
Photographs transferred to the Special Collections Department photo archives as collection number UNRS-P1999-06.
- Black Rock Desert (Nev.)
- Conservation of natural resources -- Study and teaching
- Fishing -- Alaska
- Fishing -- Pacific Ocean
- Fleischmann, Charles
- Fleischmann, Max C. (Max Charles), 1877-1951
- Fleischmann, Sarah Hamilton, 1881-1960
- Haida (Yacht)
- Hunting -- North America
- Indochina -- Description and travel
- Local histories
- Meaker, Reginald, 1877-1982
- Parman, Ralph G.
- Pyramid Lake (Nev.)
- Sheep ranchers -- Nevada
- Sheppard, Craig, 1913-1978
- Sheppard, Yolande Jacobson, 1921-1998
- Smith, Jedediah Strong, 1799-1831
- Taylor, John G., 1854-1941
- Urza, Monique, 1953- (Creator)
- Wheeler, Sessions S.
- Wheeler, Sessions S. (Creator, Person)
- Guide to the Sessions S. Wheeler Papers
- Susan Searcy
- March 1999
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository
Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA