We had come to this dry area . . . and we had paused in it and built our houses and we were slowly creating the legend of our life. We were digging for water and we were leading streams through the dry land. We were planting and ploughing and standing in the midst of the garden that we were making.

~ William Saroyan

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Finding Aids

One of the two main goals of an archivist is to promote access to the archival holdings. To facilitate access, an archivists will create a finding aid, which is a document containing detailed information about a specific collection of papers or records within an archive. Finding aids come in various formats, yet their purpose is always the same. They are a tool that allows researchers to gain an understanding of a collection prior to conducting research in an archive. As a summary of a collection, a finding aid should provide enough information to allow the researcher to decide if the archives holdings will benefit their research and if a visit to the institution is necessary.

The Fresno Historical Society is working to create finding aids for our archival collections with the help of dedicated archives volunteers. This is a time consuming process that we expect to take several years as we have over three hundred collections. Our ultimate goal is to upload our finding aids to the Online Archive of California (OAC), which provides free public access to detailed descriptions of the primary resource collections of more than two hundred contributing institutions throughout California, as well as collections maintained by the ten University of California campuses. The OAC allows the collections of the Fresno Historical Society to be discoverable with a simple internet search. For a complete list of Society collections on the OAC, click HERE.


Current finding aids:


Butler Vineyard Ledger, 1903-1915

Cody Family Papers, 1859-1912

Harvey Family Papers, 1848-1965

Martin Theodore (M. Theo.) Kearney Papers, 1887-1907, 1966

James Porteous Collection, 1877-1947, 1972

Gene Tully Papers, 1906-1965

Lilborne Alsip (L.A.) Winchell, 1881-1931


This list is just a small sample of the Fresno Historical Society’s archival holdings. To inquire about another collection or submit a research request, please go to Researching the Archives

Last Updated Friday, September 21, 2018 - 04:12 AM.