Fresno State task force finds Henry Madden's writings included racist and anti-Semitic remarks

ByJessica Harrington and staff KFSN logo
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Task force: Henry Madden's writings included racist remarks
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A Fresno State task force created to look into alleged racist and anti-Semitic writings of Henry Madden has submitted a 71-page report.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno State task force created to look into alleged racist and anti-Semitic writings of Henry Madden, the namesake of the university's library, has submitted a 71-page report.

One of the Jewish members of the task force told Action News Madden's writings were "as bigoted as anything I've ever seen." The writings also included some racist remarks, according to multiple members of the task force.

There was no evidence of remorse or of Madden recanting any of it.

The task force went through more than 50 boxes of Madden's writings, many of which are in Hungarian, German and other languages.

A Fresno State history class helped them get through it all, and they had someone on the task force who could do all the translations.

The task force did not give any opinion on Monday on whether the Henry Madden Library should be renamed, but is expected to do so by July. That's also when the California State University board of trustees could vote to remove Madden's name from the library.

Editor's Note: The video above is from a previous broadcast and will be updated.

Henry Madden was a longtime librarian who started working at the Fresno State library in 1949 and retired in 1979. According to the library's website, during his tenure, the library's collection went from approximately 70,000 volumes to about 576,000 volumes.

The building was renamed in his honor in 1981.

Fresno State professor Dr. Bradley Hart briefly mentioned Madden in his 2018 book, "Hitler's American Friends."

He said Madden expressed Nazi sympathies and explicitly stated his hatred for Jewish people.

RELATED: Fresno State library could get name change after resurfaced racist, anti-Semitic writings

Hart quoted a letter in which Madden wrote, "Whenever I see one of those predatory noses, or those roving and leering eyes, or those slobbering lips, or those flat feet, or those nasal and whiny voices I tremble with rage and hatred. They are the oppressors.... Whom do I hate more than the Jews?"

Three years later, Madden's words shocked the first Fresno State class assigned the book. They shared their outrage with the administration.

University officials said the papers they found stored in the library from the 1930s were shocking, prompting them to act.

The task force is comprised of 18 people who sifted through Madden's records and looked into how they shaped his views and actions as an administrator at Fresno State.

Committee members will hold a virtual round table discussion Monday at 1 pm to discuss the first part of their findings. Another meeting is scheduled to take place on Friday at 12 pm.

Both are open to the public. For more information or to join the meetings, click here.