We are happy to announce that Fresno County Historical Society has received a grant to catalog and rehouse our extensive collection of large Fresno County and City of Fresno ledgers dating from approximately 1890 to 1930.

At least half of these over-sized ledgers are Fresno County Justice of the Peace Dockets dating from 1883 to 1915. The Justice of the Peace Dockets are a rich resource for tracing local demographic, civil, and criminal history. The City of Fresno records primarily consist of Street Work and Sewer Work ledgers dating. The Street Work volumes include contracts for grading work with local businesses and date from circa 1904 to 1914. These documents trace the gradual urbanization of specific districts and neighborhoods, highlighting the choices of Fresno’s early municipal leaders. The Sewer Work ledgers date from the 1920s and show the next phase in urban development.

The summer grant will supply new archival housing for all 300 ledgers, and cover the cost of a cataloger who will produce an item-level description for each ledger, as well as creating two finding aids; one for Fresno County Records and one for the City of Fresno Records. The final catalog will be used to nominate the ledgers for digitization through the California State Library’s California Revealed initiative. This will be our second year applying for the California Revealed digitization program as we had several items approved for the 2019 round of digitization. While this project has been delayed by COVID-19, we hope to have these first round materials available online for research within the next year.

Stay tuned for more news from the behind-the-scenes activities of the Fresno County Historical Society Archives. Check valleyhistory.org for updates on reopening the archives.

Archivist Katy Hogue is passionate about local history. Since 2016, Katy has been dedicated to preserving the Society’s collections and sharing them with the public. She has her B.A. and M.A. in History from CSU Fresno where her research focused on the expansion of nineteenth-century culture into the American West before she graduated with honors . Contact her at archives@valleyhistory.org for research requests or donation queries.