Frank H. Fowles Papers

Identifier: 2005-22

Scope and Contents

The Frank H. Fowles Papers contains police reports, newspaper clippings, books, and other materials belonging to Frank H. Fowles, a district attorney from Inyo County, California. Series 1 contains police reports, clippings, photos, books and other materials relating to the Manson Family murders, which Fowles had a part in investigating. Series 2 contains additional personal and attorney records kept by Fowles. This includes biographical information, materials from a campaign for District Attorney, and reports and legal documents corresponding to the dispute between Los Angeles and Inyo County over water rights in the Owens Valley.


  • 1933-1993

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Items from files 2005-22_01 and 2005-22_03 were separated to due to the records containing Social Security information, as well as juvenile arrest records. These items are restricted.

Biographical / Historical

Frank H. Fowles (1932-1998) was an attorney active in California, serving as Deputy District Attorney in Solano County from 1961-1966. He became Inyo County District Attorney in 1967, a position in which he served until 1974.

During his time as Inyo County District Attorney, Fowles was involved in the arrest of the Manson Family in December 1969. Following the Tate-LaBianca Murders taking place in Los Angeles, the Manson Family had moved to Barker Ranch, located in Death Valley, California. Responding to local crime reports taking place throughout the area, the Inyo County Sheriff's department arrested members of the Manson Family, unaware of their connection to the murders themselves.

In addition to his connection to the Manson investigation, Fowles also acted as legal counsel for Inyo County in their dispute with Los Angeles County officials over water rights and usage in the Owens Valley and later served on the Inyo County Board of Supervisors. He also continued to practice as a private attorney.

Fowles died in 1998.


3.75 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Frank H. Fowles Papers contains reports, correspondence, and other records of Frank H. Fowles, a district attorney working in Inyo County, California. These papers focus on Fowles' role in arresting Charles Manson and his followers in 1969, water rights in the Owens Valley, in addition to personal records kept by Fowles.


Arranged into the following series: 1) Manson Family Investigation, 2) Attorney and Personal Records Records within the series are arranged largely by the order in which they were received.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Frank L. Fowles in 2005.

Processing Information

Photocopied pages from Time Magazine issue on Manson was removed from scrapbook due to quality.


Guide to the Frank H. Fowles Papers
Ian McGlory
November 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)