Harry Reid Papers

Identifier: 90-89

Scope and Contents

The Harry Reid Papers contain the records of Harry Reid (1939-2021), a Nevada lawyer, politician, and US Senator who served as Senate Minority Leader (2005-2007, 2015-2017) and Majority Leader (2007-2015). This includes the Senator's personal records, as well as the records of his Congressional Offices starting from his election to the House of Representatives in 1983 through his time as a US Senator from 1987 to 2017. Also included are a small selection of records from his political campaigns, as well as a smaller selection of records from his time in other positions including Lt. Governor of Nevada (1971-1975) and Chair of the Nevada Gaming Commission (1977-1981).

The collection is divided into several series, which were arranged primarily on their origination and office. Series 1 contains the records of the Senator's Las Vegas field office, containing records largely relating to constitutent matters and local issues. Series 2, Electronic Records, contain the electronic records kept by the Senator's office, a large portion of which is the Senator's Constituent Service System or CSS. Series 3 contains the records for Senator Reid's main field office for Northern Nevada, in Reno as well as some records from a smaller office located in Carson City. Series 4 contains some records from the Senator's political activity, largely focused on his own campaigns.

Series 5 and 6 make up the bulk of the Senator's records from his time as a US Congressman and Senator. Series 5 contains the records from Reid's time in the House, in addition to his early activity in the US Senate. Series 6, which contains the bulk of his collection, is comprised largely of the records of his Senate and includes personal materials kept by Reid himself, in addition to the records detailing the administrative, legislative, and publicity efforts of Reid and his staff.


  • circa 1970-2016


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is currently closed in accordance with donor agreement. Physical records closed until November 2026. Electronic records closed until November 2036.

Parts of this collection are restricted due to portions containing sensitive information relating to Reid’s family and staff, in addition to records relating to casework and individual constituents.

Please contact Special Collections and University Archives for more information.

Biographical / Historical

Harry Mason Reid (1939-2021) was born on December 2, 1989 in Searchlight, Nevada. His parents were Harry Vincent Reid, a hard rock miner, and Inez Orena (Jaynes) Reid, who worked as a laundress. Reid attended Basic High School in Henderson Nevada, playing football and boxing under his coach future Nevada governor, Mike O’Callaghan.

He attended Southern Utah University and Utah State University, majoring in history and political science. During this time Reid also was a boxer. He then later earned his J.D. at George Washington School of Law, during which he also worked as a Capitol Police Officer.

After law school, Reid practiced law privately and also acted as Henderson’s City Attorney. In 1968, he was elected to the Nevada State Assembly. In 1970, with Mike O’Callaghan as his running mate, Reid was elected Lt. Governor which he served from 1971-1974. In 1974 Reid ran for U.S. Senate, losing to Paul Laxalt by less than a few hundred votes. In 1975, he ran for Mayor of Las Vegas, losing to Bill Briare.

In 1982, Reid ran for Congress in the newly created 1st district. Reid won the election and served two consecutive terms as a U.S. Representative. In 1986, Reid ran for U.S. Senate, to replace Paul Laxalt who had planned to retire. He defeated former Congressman Jim Santini in the general election.

As a Senator, Reid spent a significant amount of time addressing issues which affected his home state of Nevada. This includes legislation protecting Nevada wilderness areas, Lake Tahoe, Great Basin National Park, and Gold Butte, among others. He also worked with local indigenous and non-indigenous communities to negotiate a settlement concerning water use from the Walker River watershed. He also worked to both oppose the dumping of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain while promoting the use and development of clean energy in the state, holding the National Clean Energy Summit on an annual basis.

Within the Senate leadership, Reid served as caucus whip from 1999-2005. In 2005 he succeeded Senator Tom Daschle as minority leader. In 2006, he became majority leader. During his time as majority leader. Reid would help to get landmark pieces of legislation through the chamber, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act while also attempting to pass immigration reform. He also successfully helped get Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor placed on the US Supreme Court. Following the Democrats’ loss of the Senate in 2014, Reid acted as minority leader until his retirement in 2017.

Harry Reid married his high school girlfriend Landra Gould in 1959. They have five children: Rory, Leif, Key, Josh, and Lana.

Reid died from pancreatic cancer on December 28, 2021.


1188 Cubic Feet (1188 Document Cartons)

7751 Gigabytes : (12,525,428 Items)

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian


Records created by Harry Reid during his time in office, from Lieutenant Governor of Nevada to Senate Majority and Minority leader. The collection contains records detailing Reid's activity in local, state, and national politics primarily from the early 1970s to his retirement in 2017.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposited by Senator Harry Reid beginning in 1991


Guide to the Harry Reid Papers
In Progress
Nathan Gerth and Ian McGlory
July 2021
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)