Gertrude Gottschalk Papers

Identifier: 2017-42

Scope and Contents

The Gertrude Gottschalk Papers contains materials collected and created by Gertrude during her time as a Democratic National Committeewoman from 1960-1964 and one year, 1965, as the secretary of the Western States' Conference. While a committeewoman, Gertrude attended the 1961 inauguration of President John F. Kennedy and the 1965 inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson. Materials on both of these inaugurations are included in the collection with a small amount of information on the establishment of the JFK Memorial Library after his assassination. Although most material dates from the 1960s, there is one folder from President Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration.

Some information from the State Democratic Convention and the Western States Conference is also included. In 1966, Gertrude ran for State Assembly but did not win office. A small amount of material from her campaign, including letters of support, are found in the collection. Very little personal information is included in the collection and is mostly comprised of newspaper clippings.


  • 1953-2011


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.

Historical Note

Gertrude (Riordan) Gottschalk was born in Preston, Nevada on February 4, 1916 to Jennie and James Riordan while her mother was on the way to visit family in Ely, Nevada. She was raised on a ranch in White River Valley, located at the intersection of Nye, Lincoln, and White Pine Counties in eastern Nevada. She attended Notre Dame secondary school in Belmont, California. As a child, her father played an active role in Nevada politics, leading to many opportunities for her to meet many Nevada politicians, including governors and U.S. Senators.

Upon graduation from high school, Gertrude took a secretarial job with the State Highways Department in Ely. After two months in Ely, she was transferred to the main office in Carson City, beginning there in May 1936. While working in Ely, Gertrude met her future husband, George, who also worked for the State Highways Department. They were married in December 1937. Soon after, they had a son, Kerry. During that time, George enlisted in the Navy, and, after serving his term, they had a second son, Mark. The Gottschalk family settled in Carson City, building a house on Westview Avenue, and, from 1946-1954, owned a propane company. The Gottschalks were also active with various clubs in Carson City, including the Leisure Hour Club, for which Gertrude served as president for one year in 1943-1944.

Gertrude became active in political groups beginning in 1936 when she, along with Malcolm McEachin and Walter Baring, formed a Young Democrats group called "Young Turks." Later, after World War II, Mildred Bray asked Gertrude to assist in reorganizing the Democratic Women's Club. By the 1960s, Gertrude was involved in national politics, serving as the Democratic National Committeewoman from 1960-1964 and as secretary to the Western States' Conference for one more year. In 1966, Gertrude ran for State Assembly, losing to incumbent Lawrence E. Jacobsen and Dr. John H. Homer. Eventually, she was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the state convention in Las Vegas.


0.667 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



Gertrude Gottschalk was active in Nevada politics, especially during the 1960s, and served as a committeewoman for the Democratic National Convention. Collection contains materials created and collected by Gottschalk during the 1960s, including President John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson inauguration ephemera, Democratic National Committee information, a small amount of material from the Nevada State Democratic Conference, and information from Gottschalk's 1966 campaign for Nevada State Assembly.


Arranged by subject.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Catherine Sanders in June 2017.

Related Materials

Related materials held by the UNR Special Collections Department:

Gottschalk, Gertrude T. Memories of Carson City. Carson City, Nevada : Carson City Preservation Coalition, 2001 [stacks: F849.C3 G68 2001]


Guide to the Gertrude Gottschalk Papers
Jessica Maddox
April 2018
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)