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Guide to the The Academy Records, 1935-1991
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: The Academy Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1935-1991
    Creator: Academy (Fresno, Calif.)
    Extent: 2.25 linear feet
    Repository: Henry Madden Library (California State University, Fresno).

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

    Administrative Information


    The records were donated by The Academy in 1991.

    Access Restrictions

    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been transferred to California State University, Fresno.

    Preferred Citation

    [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 this day.

    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.
    The 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.
    The 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.

    Related Collections

    University Archives

    • Title: Arnold Joyal papers
    • Title: Frederic Ness papers
    • Title: Roger Tatarian papers

    Manucript collections

    • Title: Thomas Risley papers