A task force reviewing the naming of the Henry Madden Library at Fresno State today released a 71-page preliminary report that will inform University President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval’s decision on next steps. The report and accompanying exhibits are available on the task force’s landing page.

Based on available records, the task force’s preliminary report concluded that Dr. Henry Madden:

  • expressed deep antisemitic and pro-Nazi views before World War II, some of which included violent statements;
  • continued to express antisemitic sentiments after the war;
  • never apologized for, expressed remorse about, or otherwise attempted to make amends for those views at any point;
  • never expressed empathy or sympathy for Jewish victims of Nazi crimes, including the Holocaust;
  • made racist remarks about Jews and other ethnicities, such as African Americans, Chinese and Mexicans, as an administrator at the University;
  • stated in writing that some of his policies and actions as an administrator were influenced by his racist views;
  • donated his papers to the University after personally curating the contents and with full knowledge that they contained antisemitic and racist statements. 

The preliminary report is the result of a thorough review of Madden’s extensive personal papers, which include more than 100,000 letters and documents, and other archival collections. The collection is the result of Madden’s wish to donate 53 boxes of material he had personally curated to the library. Madden died in 1982. 

Over the past several months, a team of highly respected University researchers and scholars conducted a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the contents of those boxes as well as other relevant materials from third-party sources and recollections of living faculty and staff who knew Madden. A group of 12 Fresno State student history majors also assisted with the research process.

Madden served as the University librarian from 1949 to 1979. In late 2021, the University learned that his personal writings contained antisemitic views and Nazi sympathies. In light of that discovery, President Jiménez-Sandoval created the task force to review the naming of the library. The task force includes students, faculty, staff and community leaders.

The task force will accept feedback on the preliminary report and library name through two public presentations and a feedback form on the landing page. The presentations are scheduled for:

  • Monday, April 18, from 1-2 p.m.Zoom link
  • Friday, April 22, from noon-1 p.m.Zoom link

A final report is expected to be provided to Jiménez-Sandoval in May. 

Any decision to rename the library would need approval from the California State University Board of Trustees, which approved naming the library after Dr. Madden in 1980.