The Journal of San Diego History
Fall 1987, Volume 33, Number 4
Thomas L. Scharf, Editor

Book Notes

A Portrait of Fresno, 1885-1985.

Edited by Sharon Hiigel and Maria Ortiz. Fresno: Fresno Centennial History Committee, 1985. Photographs. Appendices. Index. 194 Pages. $15.00 Softback.

As part of its centennial celebration, Fresno has published a pictorial study, A Portrait of Fresno 1885-1985. The book traces the emergence of the modern city from its early roots in the 1860s, through incorporation in 1885, to the present. The selections clearly fall into the category of a community portrait or town album rather than a pictorial history. The text is brief (one page per chapter) and the captions extremely brief. Thus the story of the emergence and the nature of Fresno is obtained almost entirely from the pictures themselves. Those pictures show the commercial, social, cultural and physical growth of Fresno during its first century. Although uniformly well done, the best chapter is on the World War I era, and the least effective is the one on the Depression, which does not very effectively capture the misery of that era. The book is highly recommended for a quick overview of the history of Fresno.