Scope and Content
Title: The Academy Records,
Date (inclusive): 1935-1991
Academy (Fresno, Calif.)
Extent: 2.25 linear feet
Henry Madden Library (California State University, Fresno).
Sanoian Special Collections Library.
The records were donated by The Academy in 1991.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been transferred to California State University, Fresno.
[Identification of item], The Academy Records, Sanoian Special Collections Library,
California State University, Fresno.
On October 17, 1935, The Academy met at the Hotel Californian in Fresno, California, for
the first time. Businessman Thomas Risley was the founder of The Academy. He and
university president Frank Thomas selected fourteen men who were the first members. The
name "The Academy" was suggested by Reverend James Dowling, a charter member. The
Academy's purpose was "to discuss intelligently the problems of the time" (Box 1,
History, constitution and by-laws, folder 1).
There have been prominent Fresnans among the Academy's members. Most were associated with
Fresno State College (now California State University, Fresno). There were several
presidents: Arnold Joyal, Frederic Ness, Frank Thomas, and Norman Baxter. There were also
several distinguished professors: William Beatty, Jr., Mitchell Briggs, Jose Canales,
Karl Falk, Emory Ratcliffe, Edward Tenney, Jose Elgorriaga, and Clair Nelsen, to name a
few. Other members were well known in the city of Fresno, for example, Reverend James
Dowling, Rabbi David Greenberg, businessman and benefactor Leon Peters, justice Philip
Conley, financier Thomas Risley and journalist Roger Tatarian.
The organization meets once a month from October to May, a total of eight times per year.
Each meeting begins with a social hour where members have dinner and converse. After
dinner the meeting is opened. One of the members presents a report on an area of personal
interest. Comments are then made and discussion follows. The Academy continues to meet to
Scope and Content
The Academy records date from 1935 to 1991 and measure 3.75 linear feet. The records are
arranged in two series: History, constitution and by-laws, and Membership records and
topical papers. The bulk of the collection consists of membership records and the topical
papers presented by members over the years. The records document the issues and subjects
which concerned these prominent Fresno citizens over the decades.
History, constitution and by-laws series (1935-1976)
includes a summary of general information: officers, speakers and paper titles,
membership rosters and meeting locations, along with attendance records and financial
information (checking account and bank statements). Also included is a history of the
first thirty-four years, the following ten years, and various revisions of The Academy's
constitution and by-laws.
Membership records and topical papers series (1935-1991)
contains meeting announcements, minutes from Academy meetings, rosters, attendance sheets
and correspondence (e.g., resignations, membership offers, condolences to and from
members of The Academy). It also contains all topical papers kept from the oral
presentations (one per meeting). Some folders contain only minutes, others only topical
papers, and some contain minutes, topical papers and correspondence. Originally housed in
binders, this series is arranged chronologically in the exact order in which The
Academy's secretary-treasurer kept them.
Title: Arnold Joyal papers
Title: Frederic Ness papers
Title: Roger Tatarian papers