Katharine Norrid Mergen Collection on the American Newspaper Guild, Local 208 Strike

Identifier: NC1405

Scope and Contents

Katharine Norrid Mergen Collection on the American Newspaper Guild, Local 208 Strike contains photographs, newspaper articles, and correspondence regarding the strike. Also included are a few personal items about Kay.


  • 1950-1961


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

Katharine "Kay" Norrid Mergen was born September 18, 1910, in Gainsville, Texas, to Eunice Gregory and William Andrew (Andy) Norrid, although her parents had relocated to Nevada in 1904. Andy worked as a section foreman for the Southern Pacific Railroad, frequently moving along the route throughout Nevada. When Kay started school, Andy took a section foreman position in Wabuska, Nevada, the place Kay called her hometown throughout her life.

Kay graduated from Yerrington High School in 1928 and attended the University of Nevada for two years before the Great Depression forced her family to relocate to Susanville, California. While there, she attended Lassen Junior College. By 1934, she was able to return to classes at the University of Nevada, graduating with a B.S. in Journalism and English. While at university, Kay wrote for the student newspaper The Sagebrush and worked part-time at the Nevada State Journal.

On May 25, 1936, Kay married Bernard M. Mergen; they had one son, Bernard M. Mergen, Jr., born in March 1937. In 1940, Kay and Mergen divorced; Kay and her son moved to Wadsworth, Nevada, where she taught elementary and then high school for two years. In 1944, Alfred Higginbotham, Kay's former journalism professor, offered her a job teaching at the University of Nevada. She held that position for four years before joining the staff of the Reno Evening Gazette as the Women's Editor. Kay was still working for the Gazette when the members of the American Newspaper Guild, Local 208, went on strike in July 1959; Kay was president at the time. The strike formally ended in 1961 with all but a few members who gave up their memebership in the Local 208 losing their jobs.

In 1960, Kay began working as a writer and editor for the U.S. Forest Service and, in 1966, transferred to the Education Relations Section of the Soil Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she wrote and edited various publications.

Kay Norrid Mergen died of lung cancer on June 12, 1997.

[Note adapted from an article found in "Reno This Week" and Kay Mergen's entry on the Nevada Women's History Project webpage, accessed February 7, 2023.]


0.625 Linear Feet (3 folders in two shared boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



Katharine Norrid Mergen (1910-1997) was a journalist for the Reno Evening Gazette, president of the American Newspaper Guild, Local 208, and a professional writer for the U.S. Forest Service as well as the U. S. Department of Agriculture. The collection contains materials related to the 1959 strike by the American Newspaper Guild, Local 208.


Arranged without hierarchy.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Bernard M. Mergen, Jr. in June 2021.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Jessica Maddox in February 2023. During processing, standard archival preservation measures were taken to ensure the longevity of the materials. This includes rehousing into appropriate acid-free containers and sleeving photographic prints.



Guide to the Katharine Norrid Mergen Collection on the American Newspaper Guild, Local 208 Strike
In Progress
Jessica Maddox
February 2023
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)