Lawrence W. Little Papers

Identifier: NC1039

Scope and Contents

The Lawrence W. Little Papers is divided into three series, reflecting Little's personal life, his career with the Highway Department, and his employment with the Incline General Improvement District.

Little's personal life is well documented, whether his school days, careers in teaching and engineering, or his love of gardening. The earliest item in the collection is a student newspaper, The "Quartz Creek News," written in long hand by Little and containing all the local Quartz Creek, Colorado, news. This paper consists of a "run" of issues from Jan.6 to April 30, 1915.

Between 1971-1977 Little was interviewed for an oral history by Mary Ellen Glass of the University of Nevada-Reno, Oral History Office. Little prepared himself for these interviews by making extensive notes which are contained in five notebooks. These are supplemented by daily journals and small "things to do" spiral notebooks which incorporate his daily work with gardening and social activities.

The Rotary Club of Carson City played an important roll in the Prof's life and his Rotary files are fairly extensive. The files for Little's presidency years (1942-1943) include correspondence, minutes, reports and newsletters. Files for other years (1938-1978) include newsletters, correspondence, a brief history of the club, and programs. Likewise, LIttle's association with the Carson Lodge No.1 of the Freemasons and the Kerak Temple, Reno is documented through correspondence, programs, by-laws, and a membership certificate (1938-1960). Other files in this series contain gardening notes and landscape drawings, teaching (1923-1929) and National Guard certificates and letters, a retirement file, articles about Little and Peakville, New York (home of his paternal ancestors), and records of Little's perlite and tungsten mines. The latter include correspondence, maps, claim forms, and agreements.

Series 2, Nevada Highway Department, documents Little's career as a materials and testing engineer with the Highway Department. Miscellaneous files include the Prof's history of the Department, a small amount of correspondence and meeting notes, and an article about the dedication of the Department's administration building in 1965. The bulk of the series consists of professional and technical papers authored by Little or his colleagues. In general the subject matter is the testing of and standards for highway building materials such as rock aggregates, but of special note are a paper by Alan S. Ryall on "Earthquake Potential in Western Nevada," and Little's paper on the Dayton Sand and Gravel Company.

The last series contains daily field notes compiled by Little as inspector of the Incline General Improvement District. Most of the notes are on road or sewer projects in the then-developing subdivisions at Incline Village, but others are for work along U.S Highway 50, Round Hill to Glenbrook and Round Hill to Cave Rock, and U.S. Highway 50 from Eureka, Nevada to 3.75 miles southeast of Eureka. The notes include date, weather conditions, working crew personnel, work completed, and problems encountered.


  • 1915-1979


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

Lawrence William Little grew up in Colorado and California, graduating from Bishop High School in Bishop, California. From 1923 to 1928 he taught at Western State College in Colorado (1923-1924) and Carson High School (Carson City, Nevada), where he lived the rest of his life. Little married Ruth Fairly in 1926; in 1976 they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

Little, also known as "Prof. Little," began working for the Nevada Highway Department in 1928 as a summer employee, then full-time in 1929 as a materials and testing engineer. At his retirement in 1968 he was chief of the materials and testing section. After his retirement Prof. Little worked until 1974 as inspector for the Incline (Village, Nevada) General Improvement District.

Aside from his professional work, Little was active in a number of community organizations. He served with the Nevada National Guard from 1930 to 1940, attaining the rank of Sergeant Grade III. He was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Carson City, serving as president from 1942-1943, and active in the Freemasons and Shriners.

Little was an avid gardener and contributed many floral bouquets to businesses and social functions in Carson City. He was also an amateur musician, and invested in a perlite and tungsten mine in Nevada.


3 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



Lawrence William Little grew up in Colorado and California, graduating from Bishop High School in Bishop, California. From 1923-1928 he taught at Western State College in Colorado (1923-1924) and Carson High School (Carson City, Nevada), where he lived the rest of his life. The collection includes materials documenting Little's careers as a teacher, highway inspector and materials testing engineer; his membership in the Rotary, Freemasons, and Shriners; his love of gardening, and his ownership of perlite and tungsten mines. Also included are reports on earthquakes in Nevada, the Dayton (Nevada) Sand and Gravel Company, and the history of the Highway Department.


Arranged into the following series: 1) Personal Life and Interests; 2) Nevada Highway Department; 3) Field Notes for Construction Projects

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired from an unknown source circa 1980.

Separated Materials

Photographs transferred to the Special Collections Department photo archive as collection number UNRS-P1989-36.

Guide to the Lawrence W. Little Papers
Susan Searcy
February 7, 1989
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)