Beyond the river stretches the interminable prairie, where the fields of harvested wheat lie wrapped in slumber; . . . . The light stealing upon the broad shadows, first touches the tops of the prairie wagons. . . . Then, making more and more progress, it shines. . . and at last, in full glory of splendor, brings out the yellow of the cultivated fields and the course brown of the sandy soil.

~ Picturesque America, 1872

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M. Theo Kearney Collection

  • <b>Caption:</b> Kearney’s 1890 brochure featured 50 pages of descriptions, statistics, endorsements, testimonials, illustrations, and maps promoting agriculture in Fresno and the Fruit Vale Estate. M. Theo Kearney Collection, Fresno Historical Society Archives<br/>
  • <b>Title:</b>  Kearney in his Locomobile, circa 1903. <br/><b>Caption:</b>  Original photograph, M. Theo Kearney Collection, Fresno Historical Society Archives. Image used in M. Theo Kearney’s Fresno County, California, and the Evolution of the Fruit Vale Estate (Revised Edition, 1903), page 85<br/>
  • <b>Title:</b> The packing label for Kearney’s Chateau Fresno Brand California Raisins featured his planned permanent residence on the Fruit Vale Estate – the 100-room castle, Chateau Fresno. <br/>
  • <b>Title:</b> Sun-Curing Raisins, Fresno, California, circa 1903. Original photograph, M. Theo Kearney Collection, Fresno Historical Society Archives. <br/><b>Caption:</b> Image used in M. Theo Kearney’s Fresno County, California, and the Evolution of the Fruit Vale Estate (Revised Edition, 1903), page 103. <br/><b>Credit:</b> Photographer: H. H. Alexander<br/>
  • <b>Title:</b> Early type of Architecture in Fresno on the plains. A Mexican Family. Original photograph, M. Theo Kearney Collection, Fresno Historical Society Archives.<br/><b>Caption:</b> Image used in M. Theo Kearney’s Fresno County, California, and the Evolution of the Fruit Vale Estate (Revised Edition, 1903), page 136. <br/>
  • <b>Title:</b> Fresno from Court-House. Original photograph, M. Theo Kearney Collection, Fresno Historical Society Archives. <br/><b>Caption:</b> Image used in M. Theo Kearney’s Fresno County, California, and The Evolution of the Fruit Vale Estate (Revised Edition, 1903), page 110.<br/>
  • <b>Title:</b> The World’s Fair of 1900 was held in Paris, France. M. Theo Kearney was among the 7,500 Americans who made the journey to experience the “Exposition Universelle.” <br/><b>Caption:</b> This view of the Exposition shows the Place de la Concorde, the main entrance gate to the exposition, and is from the photograph album Kearney purchased in Paris. <br/><b>Credit:</b> M. Theo Kearney Photograph Collection, Fresno Historical Society Archives. <br/>
  • <b>Title:</b> View of the Pont d’Jena (Bridge) and Trocadero Palace at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris, France. <br/><b>Caption:</b> Image appears in the photograph album that Kearney purchased when he attended this world’s fair. <br/><b>Credit:</b> M. Theo Kearney Photograph Collection, Fresno Historical Society Archives.<br/>

“M. Theo. Kearney’s life is the story of Fresno. . . . A history of Fresno County without a sketch of Mr. Kearney would not be a history.” The validity of this assessment made in a November, 1897 editorial from the Fresno Expositor newspaper is seen through the photographs in M. Theo Kearney’s publication. In his book, Fresno County California and the Evolution of the Fruit Vale Estate (1903), the images not only showcase the dramatic progress of agricultural development on his Fruit Vale Estate, but also depict the abundance and resources of Fresno County and Fresno City with its businesses, schools, churches as a “modern” Victorian city – selling the California dream to investors and settlers. This collection has been gathered from donations of individual photographs and picture albums to pamphlets and print materials depicting the development of his agribusiness.

The following original photographs include images that appear as illustrations in Kearney’s book, Fresno County California and the Evolution of the Fruit Vale Estate (1903) and photos from his personal albums.

 

 

           Learn more about M. Theo Kearney:

Visit “The Kearney Historic Site” on our website.

Books:

M. Theo Kearney: Prince of Fresno by Schyler Rehart and William K. Patterson (1988).

Fresno County California and the Evolution of the Fruit Vale Estate, Revised Edition, 1903.

Websites:

In this slideshow, images #7 ad #8 show views of the Paris World's Fair of 1900 from the photo albums Kearney purchased when he attended the Fair.  These websites offer a visual tour of the Paris World’s Fair of 1900.

Last Updated Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 02:46 PM.