Alphratta Blanche Preston Papers

Identifier: NC1198

Scope and Contents

The Alphratta Blanche Preston Papers reflects only a glimpse of Blanche Preston's life as a daughter, wife, mother, and teacher. The items which were donated at the end of her life were the precious ones she had hung onto, particularly about her daughter who died at a young age. The papers are divided into eleven series, but are primarily are comprised of correspondence to and from Blanche, her husband Albert, their daughter Clovis, and other members of the Chrisman and Preston families.

Series 1, Diaries, does not reflect much information written by Blanche as most of her diary for the years 1934-1935 is blank. However, a portion of her daughter Clovis' diary is included covering just one year previous to her death.

Series 2, Correspondence, includes letters to and from Blanche, her husband Albert, their daughter Clovis, Blanche's mother Etta Chrisman, and other Chrisman and Preston family members. Additional correspondence is from family friends as well as some guests of the boarding house. Unfortunately, a portion of the correspondence in this series is incomplete with pages missing from many of the letters.

Series 3, Documents and Certificates, contains a wide array of legal and other materials. The materials include the marriage and divorce papers between Blanche and Albert, passports for Blanche and Clovis, and the death certificate for Clovis. There are items relating to Blanche's teaching, employment and memberships. Legal papers cover some of the history of the family's boarding house and land ownership. Chrisman family materials include some of the military service for Blanche's father, John H. Chrisman, in 1864, and her mother Etta's will.

Series 4, Financial, contains many miscellaneous financial items, including documents relating to the property and houses the family owned and rented out. There are some ledgers that show household accounting figures as well as property tax statements and receipts from Blanche's and Clovis' trip to France. Some financial correspondence from their attorney is also included, as are a few receipts from the memorial fund Blanche set up at the University of Nevada, Reno, in Clovis' name.

Series 5, Biographical and Genealogical, is a small file with information about the family mainly written by the donor and friend of the family, Bonnie Trimmer.

Series 6, Ephemera, contains various materials such as hand-made cards, playbills, club and play programs, and clippings. Of special interest is a small book that includes hair samples from family members or friends, attached to pages. Most samples are labeled with the name of the person, and some are woven into intricate circles typical of other hair samples collected during the Victorian era.

Educational materials can be found in two series.

Series 7, Teaching Profession, consists of Blanche's teaching recommendations, her undated class record book, and her handwritten thesis.

Series 9, Educational Materials, consists of prose and poetry written by Blanche, her pupils, and others. This series also includes additional ephemera from Clovis such as cards, notices of honor roll attainment at her school in Paris, workbooks and binders of school work for the year 1924, a handmade scrapbook on France, her report cards and practice tests.

Series 8, Order of the Eastern Star, consists of receipts for dues paid for the years 1968 and 1971, and the chapter's calendar of events for the years 1972-1973.

Photographs in Series 10 have been transferred to the Photo Archives as photograph collection UNR-P2005-09.

Series 11, Printed Material, consists of items from Clovis's and Blanche's time in Paris (some items are in French), Galloway Woman's College (Searcy, Arkansas) Announcement for the years 1927-1928, various clippings and booklets, a 1915 University of Nevada graduation program, educational journal reprints, and two yearbooks Blanche collected during her time teaching in Arkansas and North Dakota.


  • 1859-1973


Conditions Governing Access

This 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

Alphratta Blanche Preston (born on May 9, 1886), who went by her middle name, with her mother, Etta Chrisman (d. 1942), and her grandmother, Isabella Jackson, operated boarding houses in Reno, Nevada. Etta Chrisman divorced Blanche's father in 1900 and Isabella Jackson had been a widow since 1889.

Blanche married Albert W. Preston (born on March 10, 1881) in 1906 and their daughter, Clovis, was born in 1911.

Albert W. Preston joined the University of Nevada in 1911 as an instructor in mechanical engineering. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1914 and held that position until he resigned in 1923. He also served as a conductor for the University's Reno Cadet Band. In 1924 he was the superintendent of construction for a new building at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City. He died on October 1, 1937 in Oroville, California.

Their daughter Clovis died in 1925 at the age of 13 from polio. Blanche Preston established a memorial fund in Clovis' name at the University of Nevada. The fund was used to purchase books for the French and history departments in 1929. Memorial bookplates were created to be put into the books purchased from the memorial fund.

Blanche received her high school teaching certificate from the Nevada State Board in 1932. In addition to her teaching duties in Reno, Blanche also taught French in Tuscarora, Nevada in 1925; in Fargo, North Dakota from 1926-1927; and in Searcy, Arkansas from 1927-1928.

Blanche died on June 25, 1977 in Reno, Nevada. At the time of her death she apparently did not have any close living relatives.


1.6 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



Alphratta Blanche Preston (1886-1977) was a French teacher and operated boarding houses in Reno, Nevada. The collection consists of Preston's diaries, correspondence with family members, personal papers, financial documents and ephemera.


Arranged into the following series: 1) Diaries of Blanche Preston; 2) Correspondence; 3) Documents and Certificates; 4) Financial; 5) Biographical and Genealogical materials on Preston and Chrisman Families; 6) Ephemera; 7) Teaching Profession; 8) Order of the Eastern Star; 9) Educational Materials; 10) Photographs; 11) Printed Material

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Bonnie Trimmer in 1978.

Separated Materials

Photographs transferred to the Special Collections photo archives as collection number UNRS-P2005-09.



Guide to the Alphratta Blanche Preston Papers
Susan E. Searcy
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)