Stella Butterfield began working as a court reporter in Las Vegas in 1955 and over her career has transcribed testimony for some of the most important and infamous cases in the city.
Born Stella Goldberg in the Bronx, New York to first generation American parents, she spent her childhood in a tenement apartment. She earned her high school diploma in 1941. Following graduation, she began working in a laundry and taking classes to learn shorthand and typing.
Soon after, she began working in the war effort. She went to work for the Coast Guard in their steno pool and then to work as a teletype operator. During this time, she changed her legal name from Goldberg to Gilbert, to avoid discrimination.
Butterfield moved to California, she worked on airplanes for the war and took some classes at UCLA. She moved to Panama in December 1948, where she worked as a court reporter serving the US Air Force base. While in Panama, she met Frank Butterfield, and the couple returned to the United States and married. While he was deployed during the Korean War, she lived with her brother in California and worked as a legal secretary. Frank returned, and the Air Force stationed him at Nellis Air Force Base.
The Butterfields moved to southern Nevada in 1953 and lived in Henderson due to the lack of housing in Las Vegas. Stella took a job as a court reported at Nellis Air Force Base. In 1954, Frank chose not to reenlist in the service and the couple moved to Mexico City for him to attend the university. The next year, they moved to California. Stella Butterfield soon received a job offer from Las Vegas to work as a federal court reporter, under Roger T. Foley.
Stella Butterfield moved back to Las Vegas and made the area her home. She worked as a federal court reporter and later as a freelance reporter. Her interview describes many of the changes the city of Las Vegas underwent in the second half of the twentieth century, as well as many prominent court cases.
Photo courtesy of Stella Butterfield.
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