Nevada Historical Society
First Director, 1904-1950
Jeanne Elizabeth Wier
A native of Iowa, where she was born in 1870, Jeanne Wier was educated and taught school in that state before moving to Oregon, where she also taught school. She entered Stanford University in California as a part-time student in 1895, and in 1899 was hired to teach history at the University of Nevada in Reno – two years before she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford. She went on to become a professor in the department of History and Political Science, and served as department head for many years before her retirement in 1940.
It was, however, Wier’s extracurricular activities that allowed her to leave her most lasting mark on Nevada. She was deeply involved with the women’s suffrage movement in the state, and for almost half a century, from the time she helped found the institution in 1904 until her death in 1950, she led the Nevada Historical Society. In her capacity as executive secretary, she provided essential leadership for the NHS in its early years, establishing its structure and basic activities, developing its library and museum collections, and securing quarters for those collections. She also developed a program for publishing historical writings and documents. By recognizing the importance of preserving the state’s history and making it accessible to everyone, and by fostering the principal institution that has worked to achieve those goals, Jeanne Wier left succeeding generations of Nevadans, and all those interested in the state’s history, in her debt.