Project Staff & Contributors

Project Management

Mella Rothwell Harmon, M.S.
Co-curator, Project Historian, Interviewer, Collector and Writer

Mella Rothwell Harmon, M.S., is an independent consultant specializing in architectural history and historic preservation.  As an adjunct assistant professor in the department of Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno she taught Nevada history and historic preservation planning.  In her former role as Curator of History at the Nevada Historical Society, she was responsible for the development and implementation of museum exhibitions in both the permanent and changing galleries as well as the Society’s public programming. Harmon is widely published in the fields of Nevada history and architectural history.  Her master’s thesis, Divorce and Economic Opportunity in Reno, Nevada during the Great Depression, examines the participation of local citizens in Reno’s famous divorce trade. She brought her own collection of photographs, articles, books, documents and other Reno-divorce-related items to the project and donated them to Special Collections when she left.

Donnelyn Curtis, M.A., M.L.S
Co-curator and Project Coordinator

Donnelyn Curtis has been the Head of Special Collections since 2008. She develops exhibits, both on-site and online, and leads digitization efforts that increase access to historical Nevada materials. She also oversees the Basque Library. She wrote the text and captions for Historic Photos of Reno and co-edited Before the Big Bonanza: Dan De Quille’s Early Comstock Accounts. She manages the Reno Historical App project that was partially funded by a 2013 LSTA mini-grant and a Nevada Humanities grant, and was the PI for a large LSTA-funded Special Collections project “Revamping Access to Special Collections Photographs.” More information is available on her website.

Alicia Barber, Ph.D.
Historian, Project Consultant, Interviewer, and Writer

Alicia Barber, Ph.D., is a writer, historian, and founder of the historical consulting firm Stories in Place LLC. She collaborates frequently with government agencies, museums, artists, architects, and community groups to create dynamic public history projects about Nevada and its people. For a decade, she taught at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she directed the University of Nevada Oral History Program (UNOHP) from 2009-2013 and steered the creation of the UNOHP’s online database, which launched in May 2013. The editor and co-founder of Reno Historical, a smart phone app and website dedicated to Reno’s history, Barber serves on the Nevada State Board of Museums and History and the Board of Directors of Preserve Nevada, and chairs the City of Reno’s Historical Resources Commission. She is the author of Reno’s Big Gamble: Image and Reputation in the Biggest Little City as well as chapters and articles for both scholarly and popular publications. Her website, blog, and a full CV can be found at


            Bryana Dickens and Mella Harmon

 Project Associates

Natasha Majewski, M.S.
Creative content developer

Bryana Dickens, B.A.
Digitization manager

Daniel Hawley

Iyana Esters

Our Partners

The Nevada Historical Society and many individuals were generous with their historical photographs and other materials, considerably enriching the exhibit.

We thank the history-minded individuals who donated or loaned collections of treasured items for use in the exhibit:

  • Christine Carter (TH Ranch photos and memorabilia)
  • Max Chapman (Reno photos)
  • Neal Cobb (photos)
  • Lisa Graeber (photos of the Misfits production and of her mother, Adine Stix)
  • Bill and Sandra McGee (photographs and information about the Flying M E Ranch)
  • Mark McLaughlin (Bill Berry photos and documents)
  • Tina Nappe (the Bundy guest book)
  • Joelie Pehanick (Fuetsch guest house photos and guest log)
  • Bob Stoldal (Reno postcards and pressbook for Rupert Hughes’ 1923 movie Reno)

Kimberly Roberts and Michael Fischer have helped with dates and captions for photographs.

We give special thanks to the men and women who came forward to offer their remembrances and mementos of Reno during its years as a divorce mecca. Our interviewees very generously allow us to share those recorded memories here. The photographs and documents they shared can be seen throughout the exhibit.

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