Alicia Barber

Historian, Time & Place

Alicia Barber, PhD, is a professional historian and award-winning writer whose work focuses on the built environment and cultural history of Nevada and the American West. After earning a doctorate in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003, she moved to Reno, where she taught at the University of Nevada, Reno for the next ten years, and directed the University of Nevada Oral History Program from 2009-2013.

She is the author of the book Reno’s Big Gamble: Image and Reputation in the Biggest Little City as well as multiple articles and chapters for both popular and scholarly publications, and the co-founder and editor of Reno Historical (renohistorical.org), a map-based smart phone app and website that identifies and describes historic sites throughout the city. Founder of the historical consulting firm Stories in Place, Dr. Barber collaborates frequently with government agencies, museums, artists, architects, and community groups on projects ranging from oral histories to historical displays and exhibits. In 2014 she was honored with the Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.

Washoe tribal members Billy Merrill, Maggie Merrill, Minnie George, and one Arm George in a camp at Lake Tahoe, ca. 1910-1920.
Photo courtesy of Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries.

Lake Tahoe has been a center of recreation for more than a century. But long before that, it was a home to the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. Historian Alicia Barber explores the tribe’s deep connection to the lake in this episode of Time & Place.

Jerry Fenwick

Baseball season is just around the corner, along with opening day for our local Triple-A team, the Reno Aces. Historian Alicia Barber looks back at our region’s long love affair with baseball in this episode of “Time and Place.”

University of Nevada Oral History Program archive, Special Collections Department, University of Nevada Reno Libraries.

Today, women work at all levels of the legal profession, but that wasn’t the case just a few generations ago. Historian Alicia Barber tells the story of one of Nevada’s pioneering legal figures in this episode of Time & Place.

Photo from the 1972 edition of the University of Nevada, Reno yearbook, Artemisia. / Courtesy of the Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries.

We close out Black History Month with the story of one of the first Black student organizations at the University of Nevada, Reno. Historian Alicia Barber takes us back to 1971, when a group of students took a stand by sitting down, in this week’s segment of Time & Place.

Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries

There’s nothing quite like the Olympics for bringing the world together—at least in the world of sports. It’s been almost six decades since the Games came to Tahoe, and historian Alicia Barber describes how Reno embraced the moment in this episode of Time & Place.

Squaw Valley beat out a number of other locations to host the 1960 Winter Olympics. One of them was Reno, which had sent in a last-minute bid to the Olympic committee in late 1954, but lost out to the little resort 45 miles up the mountain.

U.S. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Immigration is all over the news these days, but behind the policies and the politics are countless individuals with unique and compelling stories. Historian Alicia Barber shares the story of an early immigrant to Nevada in this segment of Time & Place.

Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries.

Air travel is so common these days that it’s easy to focus on the negative, from high fares and luggage fees to cramped seating and annoying delays. Historian Alicia Barber recaptures some of the wonder that accompanied early flight in this segment of Time & Place.

Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries.

The casinos in the Reno-Tahoe area have long offered much more than just gambling, but the world of casino entertainment has changed quite a bit through the years. Historian Alicia Barber shines a spotlight on the golden era of casino showrooms in this episode of Time & Place.

Reno’s casinos started opening their own elegant nightclubs and dinner showrooms in the 1940s, and by the fifties, they were in fierce competition to book big-name entertainers to headline them, often for a week or two at a time. Lounge and opening acts could stay on even longer.

Photo by the Nevada Photo Service, James R. Herz Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Nevada, Reno Libraries.

Anyone who frequently drives along Interstate 80 across the Sierra has probably experienced travel delays due to heavy traffic or snow. Historian Alicia Barber looks back at early efforts to make the journey smoother in this segment of Time & Place.

Photo by the First U.S. Army Signal Corps from the U.S. Library of Congress.

The 76th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is this week. The events of that shocking day, when 2,400 Americans were killed, and more than a thousand were wounded, can seem pretty distant.  Historian Alicia Barber brings it home with the story of a Nevada native who witnessed it first hand in this episode of "Time and Place."

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