Scope and Content
Title: Thomas E. Risley Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1900-1935
Risley, Thomas E., 1881-1942
Extent: 9 linear inches
Photographs: In box 2.
Henry Madden Library (California State University, Fresno).
Sanoian Special Collections Library.
The papers were donated through John Powell in 1985.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been transferred to California State University, Fresno.
[Identification of item], Thomas E. Risley Papers, Sanoian Special Collections Library,
California State University, Fresno.
Thomas Eugene Risley was a businessman and property owner in Fresno, California, during
the early part of the twentieth century; he was also a socially active community figure.
Born in Arizona in 1881, Risley moved to Fresno in 1889 when his father Eugene W. Risley,
an attorney, moved the family west. Risley studied mining engineering in college. Upon
graduation he relocated to Nevada to work in the mining industry. Returning to Fresno in
1915 to look after his father's business affairs, Risley became a very wealthy and
influential man. Risley also had a family by this time--his wife Gladys, and their
daughter, Eleanor. His reputation for astute financial dealings brought him the attention
of local political figures. As a result, he was appointed to various political positions
in the Fresno area, including that of city commissioner in 1923. Risley also took an
active interest in education and was the chairman of the committee on schools of the
Fresno County Grand Jury.
Thomas Risley died of heart disease in 1942.
Scope and Content
The Thomas Risley papers measure 9 linear inches and date from 1900 to 1938. The
collection is arranged in seven series: Personal information, Clubs and organizations,
Financial records, Fresno County schools, Fresno politics, Property, and Photographs.
Personal information series (1916-1931) contains personal
correspondence to Risley's daughter, Eleanor, as well as her school essays and progress
reports from elementary school through college. Also included is Risley's will.
Clubs and organizations (1925-1931) include correspondence
between club leaders documenting Thomas Risley's participation in local social clubs and
organizations such as the Rotary Club and the Community Chest.
Financial records (1918-1935) include investment records,
stocks, bonds, receipts of property maintenance, and bank account records.
Risley participated in the advising of
Fresno County schools(1925-1932), especially on funding and other financial matters. He was also a
member of the Fresno County Grand Jury dealing with educational matters.
Fresno politics series (1918, 1924-1925) contains the
correspondence between Risley, as Finance Commissioner and other city officials and
business leaders in Fresno.
Property series (1900-1935) includes Risley's deeds to
both residential and commercial sites as well as a few to his father's buildings in the
Fresno and San Francisco Bay areas. Also included are his mining claims throughout
California as well as the blueprints for his Fresno home.
Photographs (undated) feature one of Risley's daughter,
Eleanor, and several of various unidentified individuals (presumably family members).