Patricia D. Cafferata Papers

Identifier: 93-69

Scope and Contents

The Patricia D. Cafferata Papers date from 1958-1998 and cover her political career and personal life. The collection has been divided into four series following the basic arrangement of the donor: materials related to political offices held by Cafferata, political campaign management materials, personal papers, and videotapes. The largest part of the collection is Series 1 which documents the public offices held by Cafferata. Included are speeches, calendars, information relating to topics or legislative bills sponsored by or of interest to her (D.U.I legislation, hazardous waste sites in Nevada), and scrapbooks. Administrative files document her responsibilities as treasurer and include materials about the state's financial portfolio and public investment pools, and files which track her activities as an office holder. This series also holds scrapbooks compiled during Cafferata's political campaigns and terms of office. The scrapbooks consist of clippings, photographs, programs of events, and other mementos. Some speeches and scrapbook clippings reference Cafferata's mother, Representative Barbara Vucanovich.

Series 2, Political Campaigns, may only be examined with prior permission of the donor. This series documents her campaign strategy, campaign management, and financial backing. The records for this series appear to be fairly complete. Some of the records in this series are public records, for example, campaign financial statements, and are available at the office of the Nevada Secretary of State. The series also includes sample ballots which are available at the County Registrar of Voters' office.

Series 3 contains personal papers which touch lightly on Cafferata's personal interests and activities outside the political sphere. Included are college term papers, calendars, certificates, reports, clippings, and some correspondence about Doctors' Wives of Washoe County, Cafferata's teaching career, Nevada Women's Conference and law classes at Southwestern University College of Law.


  • 1958-1998


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested.

A portion of the collection, papers of Cafferata's political campaigns (Series 2), are restricted until after the death of Cafferatra death and, prior to that, may only be examined with advance permission of the donor.

Biographical Note

Patricia Anne Dillon Cafferata was born in 1940 and attended Bishop Monogue High School in Reno, Nevada; Mills College in Oakland, California; and Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She received a bachelor's degree from Lewis and Clark in 1963 with a major in elementary education and a law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in 1989.

Ms. Cafferata, a Republican, has long had an interest in politics; her mother is Barbara Vucanovich (R), one of Nevada's representatives to the U.S. Congress. In 1976 Ms. Cafferata unsuccessfully ran for Nevada State Treasurer. She was elected to the Nevada State Assembly for District 25 in 1978 and in 1982 was the first woman elected to the Nevada State Treasurer's office. Although virtually guaranteed reelection as Treasurer, she chose to run for Governor of Nevada in 1986 against Democrat Richard Bryan. After her election loss she entered Southwestern University College of Law, passing the Nevada bar exam in 1990. She ran for the office of District Attorney of Lyon County that same year but did not win. Two years later she was appointed to fill the vacant Lincoln County District Attorney's position. In 1998 Cafferata ran for District 25 Assembly seat but was defeated in the primary election. Cafferata currently has a private law practice in Reno.

In addition to her political interests, Ms. Cafferata has been active in many community organizations, including Doctors' Wives of Washoe County, the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce, Washoe County Historical Society, St. Mary's Hospital Guild, Washoe Medical Center League, and Republican Women's Club of Reno.


20.125 Linear Feet (25 boxes)

Language of Materials



Largely contains material related to the public offices for which Cafferata has run and those to which she was elected, and papers related to her personal interests such as Doctors' Wives of Washoe County. Two issues evident in these papers are drunk driving legislation and hazardous waste disposal.


Arranged into the following series: 1) Political Offices; 2) Political Campaigns; 3) Personal Papers; 4) Videotapes

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated Patricia Cafferata in July and December 1993; an additional gift was made in October 1998.

Separated Materials

Videotapes and photographs have been transferred to the photo archives of the Special Collection Department as collection number UNRS-P1995-03.

Guide to the Papers of Patty Cafferata
Susan Searcy
December 1993; October 1998
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)