Courtenay Swain McGowen Records

Identifier: 99-14

Scope and Contents

Series 1, Legislative Records contains meeting notes, background material, published draft and final bills, Swain's Assembly speeches, lists of bills sponsored by Swain during individual legislatures, clippings, reports, statistics, tapes of committee meetings, and minutes of committee meetings. Notable topics include the history of coursing/dog racing, child safety restraints, the insanity defense, victims of crime, election reform, creation of a central criminal history repository, sexual offenders programs, surrogate mothering, right to life, the Nevada Supreme Court, and "Home Means Nevada" song copyright transfer.

Series 2, Election Records, include materials related to Swain's election campaigns for the Assembly. These files include opinion polls and questionnaires, campaign plans, press releases, advertising, mailings, brochures, newspaper clippings, and campaign disclosure reports.


  • 1978-1989


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

Courtenay Jameson Swain McGowen was born on November 25, 1945 in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her BA degree from Finch College, Maryland and her MA from Columbia University. Prior to and during her career in the Nevada Legislature, Courtenay was a freelance writer and investor, owner of Image Factory, and belonged to many civic organizations, including Planned parenthood of Northern Nevada and the Committee to Aid Abused Women.

Courtenay Jameson ran for the Nevada Assembly as a Democrat and was first elected in November, 1982 (by the 1983 session, she had married and her name became Swain). She served in the Assembly as the representative of District 28 (Reno) from 1983-1990. Her legislative committee assignments included Ways and Means, Judiciary, Education, and Elections (which she chaired). Swain was also chair of the Governor's Commission on Child Support Enforcement, and a member of the Commission on Finance; the Interim Subcommittee on Cultural Resources and Reapportionment; and the Economic Development, Small Business and Tourism Committee. She was a strong supporter of children's rights and education, and was an activist for both health care and insurance reform causes.

Swain's notable legislation included those:

Requiring safety belts for young children in automobiles, Permitting courtroom use of videotaped testimony of abused children, Expanding victims' rights in litigation against defendants, Requiring local agencies to provide more assistance to victims of crime. Swain received a number of awards recognizing her contributions to the community, including the Nevada Safety, Council, Distinguished Public Official Award, 1982-1983; Community Service Agency of Washoe County, Outstanding Service Award, 1984; Planned parenthood of Northern Nevada, Policy Makers Award, 1985; and was one of the Outstanding Young Women of America, 1983.


3 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



Legislative records contain meeting notes, background material, draft and final versions of bills sponsored by McGowen, her speeches in the Assembly, clippings, notes, statistics, audio tapes of committee meetings, and minutes of committee meetings. Election records include materials related to McGowen's Assembly campaigns: opinion polls and questionnaires, campaign plans, press releases, publicity materials, and campaign disclosure reports (1978-1989).


Arranged in the following series: 1) Legislative Records; 2) Election Records

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Courtenay McGowen in May 1998.

Separated Materials

Photographs transferred to the Special Collections photograph archives as collection number UNRS-P1999-15.

A Part of

Nevada women's archives.

Guide to the Courtenay Swain McGowen Records
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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)