Leon S. Peters Legacy Collection
Leon S. Peters was respected as a businessman, civic leader, and philanthropist who lived and worked according to the highest ethical standards. He cherished his community and considered its well-being his personal responsibility. As a result of his strong belief in the benefits of philanthropy and community service, Leon S. Peters took a leadership role in, as well as provided financial support to, countless charitable initiatives that to this day have improved the lives of so many in the San Joaquin Valley. Through his conduct in both his professional and personal life, Leon S. Peters has left a legacy that continues to inspire others in our community to aspire to the highest ethical standards in all matters, and to take active roles in advancing charitable measures designed to benefit others.
As the son of Armenian immigrants, Leon S. Peters grew up on the family farm. After the loss of his parents, he became a salesman for Valley Foundry and went on to purchase the company. Valley Foundry and Machine Works manufactured a wine grape crusher that revolutionized wine production and the company became a world-recognized supplier of agricultural equipment.
In 2009 the Henry Madden Library's Special Collections Research Center became the repository of the papers and artifacts of Leon S. Peters. Showing great forethought and a discerning sense of historical importance, Ken Peters, Leon Peters' nephew, had acquired the collection from Mr. Peters' widow, Alice Peters.
In addition to the Leon S. Peters collection, the Madden Library received materials related to the Leon S. Peters Award and its annual recipients. A video interview with each of the Peters Award recipients is included in the collection. Oral history interviews of additional Valley leaders who worked and served with, or were inspired by Mr. Peters will be added to the video collection. Since 1984 the Leon S. Peters Award has been presented annually to a Central Valley business leader whose work exemplifies the values, ethics, and character of Leon S. Peters. For his many contributions to Fresno State, Leon S. Peters was posthumously awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by The California State University in 1997.
This electronic collection is comprised of the digitized, transcribed and captioned video interviews with all of the Leon S. Peters Award winners as well as certain members of Mr. Peters' family and friends.
For more information about the entire Leon S. Peters collection, please see the Leon S. Peters finding aid.