Passing the Time


The required residency period often proved a convenient time to seek self-betterment, both physical and intellectual.

For some divorce-seekers, the waiting period required to establish residency offered the perfect opportunity to pursue education, job training, and other types of self-improvement.

A number of business colleges and secretarial schools enticed those eager to improve their professional skills. In the 1930s, the Nevada Secretarial School, located one block west of the courthouse on Granite (now Sierra) Street, offered “special intensive six-week courses,” while temporary residents could attend University of Nevada classes at a special hourly rate.

In her oral history published in 1968, Minnie Blair recalled a young black woman from New York who attended hourly classes at the University of Nevada while serving her residency period at the Blairs’ ranch in Fallon. The divorce-seeker, who had been enrolled in graduate study at Columbia University, made quite a splash on campus and was invited to give lectures. Reno resident Theresa LeGrand offered French classes to the community in the 1930s, and among her students were divorce-seekers and divorce lawyers.

Other activities beckoning the motivated divorce-seeker included riding lessons, music instruction, and weight loss programs.

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The Public Library

For those divorce-seekers who preferred less structure to their self-improvement, the public library was a popular sanctuary, conveniently located for many years directly across Virginia Street from the Washoe County Courthouse. The librarian made a point to carry books that would appeal to Reno’s sophisticated temporary clientele.

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