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Guide to the McLane/Harris Family Papers, 1865-1963
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: McLane/Harris Family Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1865-1963
    Creator: McLane family

    Harris family
    Extent: 4.25 linear feet
    Repository: Henry Madden Library (California State University, Fresno).

    Sanoian Special Collections Library.
    Fresno, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The papers were donated by Barbara Brock, Charles McLane's granddaughter, in 1988.

    Access Restrictions

    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been transferred to California State University, Fresno.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], McLane/Harris Family Papers, Sanoian Special Collections Library, California State University, Fresno.


    Charles Lourie McLane was born on April 4, 1862 in Scotland County, Missouri. In 1885, he graduated from Northern Indiana Normal school. Two years later, he received his B.S. from Valparaiso College. He married his first wife, Frances Diademma (Demma) Best, in December 1891. They had a daughter, Frances Marguerite, born February 2, 1893. His first wife died in 1931 and in 1939 McLane married Elizabeth Price. His career as an educator in Fresno started in 1891 and by 1896, he was principal of Fresno High School. He also served as Superintendent of Fresno City Schools from 1899 to 1913. McLane later went on to serve as the first president of Fresno State Normal School from 1911 to 1927, which eventually became California State University, Fresno. McLane was also the president of the California State Board of Education from 1926 through 1932. He died on August 17, 1949.
    F. Marguerite McLane married Ronald Biddle Harris, son of Morris B. Harris, a prominent Fresno resident. Morris B. Harris was born in Illinois in 1866. He attended the University of Indiana at Bloomington until transferring to another university in Springfield, Ohio, where he met and later married Jessie Boggs in 1889. In the same year, they moved to Fresno where he began teaching. He also studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1895. In 1918 he ran unopposed for a seat as state senator. Harris was also on the Fresno County Board of Education and the California Railroad Commission as well as the California Highway Commission for some time.

    Scope and Content

    The McLane/Harris Family papers measure 4 linear feet and date from 1865 to 1963. The papers are arranged in five series: Artifacts, Harris Family, Charles McLane, Related families and Photographs.
    The Artifacts consist of Ronald Harris's World War I medals and pins as well as Charles McLane's pocket watch.
    The Harris Family series (1898-1959) contains the journals of Jessie Harris. The daily entries reflect back on more than four decades. For Morris B. Harris, there are newspaper clippings, an essay about his life that he wrote. There is also an extensive family tree that spans back to the seventeenth century as well as a scrapbook and the travel diaries from Morris and Jessie Harris's adventures in the Far East and the Pacific Islands.
    The Charles McLane series (1891-1963) consists of Fresno State College programs, newspaper articles and letters. Also included are a McLane High School dedication program and a guide to McLane High School, a diary and his marriage license and certificate. The letter is during World War I from Donald Best to his Aunt Demma and the obituary is for F. Marguerite McLane Harris.
    The Related families series (1865-1890, 1944) contains documents of families related to the Harris or McLane families by marriage. One family, the Nobles, were friends of the McLanes. The Best family materials contain a marriage license, army papers from the Civil War and the high school diploma of Frances Diademma Best. The "History of the Boggs Family" was written by Nancy Dixon.
    The Photographs series (1898-1949 and undated) contains more than two hundred photographs. These photographs show mostly family members and friends at parties and other social gatherings, as well as on vacations. Also included are some daguerreotypes and negatives.