published on July 13, 2022 - 2:21 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The California State University board of trustees voted Wednesday to remove Dr. Henry Madden’s name from Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library.

The renaming follows discovery of Madden’s deeply held anti-Semitic views and Nazi sympathies. The action to remove the name followed a formal request to the board on May 18 by Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. The move came after a task force’s five-month investigation, reviewing 53 boxes of material containing more than 100,000 letters and documents that Madden had donated to the University’s Special Collections in 1982. 

Madden was the University’s librarian from 1949 to 1979. The CSU board of trustees had voted to rename the library after him in 1980.

Fresno State said that it will begin efforts to remove Madden’s name from signage and websites as soon as possible. The library will now be referred to as the Fresno State Library or the Library until there is an official declaration of a new name. 

Fresno State will enlist a library naming task force to review the CSU naming policy. The vote for an official new name may not occur for at least another year.

“I charged the task force to determine whether there had been a development of thought that led Dr. Madden to reject the hateful views that he held in his twenties and thirties,” said Jiménez-Sandoval. 

Jiménez-Sandoval said that since Dr. Madden personally curated the materials before turning them over to the library, he was fully aware of their contents and knowingly included the disturbing letters and documents in the collection. 

“While Dr. Madden had the opportunity later in life to reflect on those views, there is no evidence that he renounced those views. It is unfortunate that the undercurrents of his racist views remained palpable throughout his life. Naming a building or any key campus area must align with our communal values and reflect our shared spirit of discovery, diversity and distinction,” he said.

Fresno state researchers and scholars, assisted by 12 Fresno State history students, conducted an analysis of the materials donated by Madden. The task force issued its 74-page final report in May.  

“As a member of the task force, I can assure our Fresno State community that the committee was thoughtful and comprehensive, and acted with the utmost integrity,” said Jerry H. Mann, a task force member who also serves as chair of the President’s Jewish Leadership Council.  “The dedication of our scholars, students and library staff who contributed to this huge undertaking deserve our thanks and appreciation for a job well done.”


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