Howard Watkins Person of the Week

February 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The new library is getting a huge gift from a retired Fresno County Attorney who's following in the footsteps and snapshots of the late Claude "pop" Laval. Chances are -- if you've attended a fundraiser, awards dinner, or an event in the Fresno area during the past three decades --- Howard Watkins has taken your picture.

Howard started snapping pictures back in junior high school. What started as a hobby -- grew into a passion to preserve history.

From politicians ... And celebrities....to special events ... And sports stars...

Howard said "Here's David Carr coming out for one of the football games with Coach Hill..."

Howard has shot some 180,000 pictures ... And he keeps it all in albums, boxes, and binders -- jammed into a closet at his home.

Warren said, "This is the vault! This is Fresno history for the past thirty years... right there!"

Howard said, "Several people told me .. I now have the broadest collection of photos of people, places and events in the greater Fresno area."

Much to his wife's relief -- Howard has found a new, special place for his historic collection of photos. He's donating all of it -- to the Henry Madden Library at Fresno State.

Tammy Lau is in charge of the library's special collections -- and she believes Howard's gift will be an incredible resource for students and the public.

Tammy Lau said, "If he hadn't taken these pictures ... we wouldn't have this record of this time frame?He's one of our most enthusiastic donors we've ever had."

Howard's photos and negatives will eventually be digitized for online access. He'll be identifying and writing descriptions for each photo.

In the meantime ? Howard is still out there taking snapshots in time -- and on a rare occasion -- ending up the subject in a photo.

He's Fresno's photo laureate.

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