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The photograph collection is comprised of over 30,000 images housed in the Fresno County Historical Society Archives.  The pictures reflect Fresno County and regional history from the earliest times to the present. The photographs show the growth and development of the Central Valley, its people, agriculture, industries, and communities. These pictures take us on a journey. Through the eyes of Fresnans we witness trips to California’s mountains, their experiences in war and travels not only in America but around the world. The photographs date from the 1870s to the present.   

F15-A  AW Peters 2 children in Pumpkin s

Two Children in a Pumpkin Squash Patch with a Calf, AW Peters photographer.

The collection includes photographic images in many formats:

  • daguerreotypes

  • ambrotypes

  • tintypes

  • cartes-de-visite

  • cabinet cards

  • cyanotypes

  • film & glass plate negatives

  • panoramas

  • postcards

  • 35mm slides

  • scrapbooks and albums

  • stereographs


The Society’s photography collections are organized into the following categories:

Fresno City
Includes businesses, buildings (including Fresno County Courthouse), churches, disasters, Fresno Fire and Police Departments, districts and neighborhoods, hospitals, landmarks, organizations, parks, theaters, schools, street scenes of Fresno City (1870s-1980s) and other subjects/topics related to the City of Fresno.  

       Highlights from this Collection: 

       Elementary School Photographs.

       City of Fresno Organizations

Fresno County
The Fresno County Fairs, rabbit drives, the County’s towns and communities (including mountain towns such as Ockenden and Pine Ridge), sheriff’s department, and schools.
ghlights from this Collection: 

        Mountain Community Photographs

General Subject
Subject headings include: Agriculture (includes images of crops, farm equipment and machinery, packing houses, vineyards, and wineries), Irrigation, Logging Industry, Recreation & Sports, and Counties/Cities/Towns in California.

Portrait Collection
Ethnic & Cultural Groups
Family Collections
Group portraits
Pioneers & Leaders

Photograph Albums
The contents of the albums document a wide range of subjects: for example, family snapshots of celebrations and travels, a business recording its building, expansion or employees, or an organization’s pictures of its members and events.

Additional Highlights from the Collection

Photograph Use

It is our hope that these images and other digital content will be a resource for researchers and students to develop their knowledge about local Fresno County history. These images are available for academic or personal research use. Higher resolution scans can be ordered for use in books, magazines, film, postcards, advertising, television, web page, brochures, reports, and calendars. Commercial, publication, film, or media use requires permission from the Fresno County Historical Society. Contact the Society Archivist for cost options at


Reproduction Rights

  • Permission for publication is granted for one-time, non-exclusive use. Any subsequent use or change in use constitutes re-use and must be applied for in writing.

  • Access fees are per reproduction and in addition to the production charge.

  • All reproductions must be credited as follows: Fresno County Historical Society in a caption or credit. Credits should appear in close proximity to the image or in a special section devoted to credits.

  • Altering the original image beyond standard cropping requires written permission. These changes must be indicated in the accompanying caption.

  • Applicant agrees to provide the Fresno County Historical Society with one copy of the work containing the reproduction.


Copyright status unknown. These works may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, their reproduction may be restricted by terms of gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. This work is accessible for purposes of education and research. Transmission or reproduction of works protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. Fresno County Historical Society attempted to find rights owners without success, but is eager to hear from them so that we may obtain permission, if needed. Upon request to, digitized works can be removed from public view if there are rights issues that need to be resolved.

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