Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the San Diego Bar Association Auxiliary Records MS 244
MS 244  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (83.65 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Arrangement
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Separated Materials
  • Scope and Content

  • Title: San Diego Bar Association Auxiliary Records
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 244
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 12.5 Linear feet (26 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1952-2001
    Abstract: This collection contains San Diego Bar Association Auxiliary records including administrative and financial records as well as documents regarding their philanthropic programs and events such as the Courthouse Tours and the Blackstone Ball.
    creator: San Diego Bar Association Auxiliary.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    San Diego Bar Association Auxiliary Records, MS 244, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Aimee Santos on April 24, 2012.
    Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    In 1952, a small, representative group of wives of members of the San Diego Bar Association collected under Mrs. David Pain, the Auxiliary’s first president. Invitations were sent out to the judicial community to join the Auxiliary and by December 18, 1952, the last group meeting of the year, membership totaled 123. Their original purpose was to provide assistance to the Legal Aid program in San Diego. The group would become known for its philanthropic and social events spanning just shy of half a century.
    The Auxiliary started on a small scale of projects to raise funds – the “Card Party,” rummage sales, theater and concert sales. The “Card Party” experienced a huge turnout of members and friends, generating a profit of $403.50 which was sent to Mr. Charles Burch, President of the San Diego Bar Association, for the use on Legal Aid and Public Attorney programs. The number of small projects increased, some developed into grander ones, inevitably producing vast profits from their charitable events. Eventually, San Diego Bar Auxiliary Philanthropies, Inc. was established in 1981 for the purpose of collecting and distributing funds raised by the Auxiliary. Many of the Auxiliary’s events would become annual traditions for 30 years. The Author’s Luncheon hosted both nationally and locally renowned authors to speak and sell their books. The Gold and White Ball benefited the Crime Victims Fund. The Day at the Races, Emerald Luncheon and Fashion Show, and Installation Luncheon also benefited the Bar Auxiliary Philanthropies. Many holidays were spent assisting the Volunteers in Probation program in which probationers were given funds to shop for items on a wish-list of a family in need. Members were also committed volunteers for Voices for Children, where they acted as advocates for children in the foster care system. They helped restore the Courthouse Clock and raised $50,000 toward the construction of the Children’s Waiting Room at the Polinsky Children’s Center. They established the Law Student Scholarship Loan Fund for aspiring Lawyers who were in need of financial assistance. Other groups that benefited from the Auxiliary’s activities include Casa de Amparo, the San Diego County Bar Foundation, the San Diego Lawyer Program, the Juvenile Court Book Club and Libraries, the Volunteer Lawyer Program, the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation, the Girl’s Rehabilitation Facility, Youth Leadership Conference, Center for Women’s Studies, Battered Women’s Services, and many others.
    The group’s largest social event was the Blackstone Ball, a formal gala honoring the judicial and legal professions of San Diego. The event aided the Legal Aid Society, the Crime Victims Fund, and the YMCA. First held on November 9, 1953 at the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel del Coronado, it was named after the 18th century English jurist, Sir William Blackstone. Frankie Lane performed for the partygoers at the first Ball.
    In 1971, they formed the Courthouse Tour program with a mission to assist county schools and the San Diego Bar Association in increasing awareness of the judicial system. It was developed for grades five through twelve, concentrating on fifth and sixth grades. The two and a half hour tour provided a visit to the felony arraignment department, Marsha’s Office, business office, older records section, and the evidence room. Students also had the opportunity to have a question-and-answer session with a judge and participate in a mock trial where they would learn procedures and duties of courtroom personnel. Sixth through twelfth grades observed a real-life trial in session, while fifth grades had the chance to see (unoccupied) cells where prisoners are held. Potential tour guides would attend extensive classes to become familiar with the judicial system and the operations of the courthouse. The first class of 58 lawyer’s wives was held in April of 1971 and by the fall they were leading tours five days a week. During the 1973-74 school years, 175 tours were presented to 5,916 participants Downtown and 21 tours for 723 participants at the El Cajon courthouse.
    In 2001, a vote was taken by the members to end the Auxiliary’s activities as an organization. A final festivity, “Baby, We’re History,” marked the end of the Auxiliary. Those in attendance were Peggy Holiday Gissberg (past-president), Jean Thompson, Vicki McIntyre, Barbara Iredale, Kristi Hannik, Patricia Woodworth, Doris Ellsworth, Jodi Estep, Vellet Finley, and Ann Gallagher. Many Auxiliary members would continue to serve the San Diego community through other charitable endeavors.


    Collection is arranged into series:
    Series I: Administration
    Series II: Membership
    Series III: Blackstone Ball
    Series IV: Courthouse Tours
    Series V: Scholarship Loan Fund
    Series VI: Other Events and Philanthropy
    Series VII: Publications
    Series VIII: Scrapbooks
    Series IX: Lawyer's Wives of California
    Items in each series are arranged by subject.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession number 2001.070.

    Separated Materials

    Commemorative plaque and corporate seal press previously separated to Objects Collection.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains records of the San Diego Bar Association Auxiliary dated from 1952 to 2001. Administrative documents include by-laws, Auxiliary histories, meeting minutes, financials, as well as President and Treasurer reports and notebooks. There are rosters for members and information on volunteer activities. Records of the Courthouse Tours include tour guide information and training, courthouse histories, trials visited, and involvement with local schools. The Blackstone Ball records include annually recorded event planning and publicity such as guest lists, invitations, food, decorations, photography, invoices and receipts, venue and talent contracts, as well as scrapbooks recording some years of the annual event. The Auxiliary's involvement in the Scholarships Loan Fund is also included. Information, programs, and photographs from other events and philanthropic endeavors of the Auxiliary include the "Authors Luncheon," "Day at the Races," and their farewell event, "Baby, We're History." There are also publications printed by the Auxiliary including “The Bulletin,” “The Bar-ette,” and “The Record,” as well as publications from other groups. Scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings and photographs. Additionally, there is administrative information on the Lawyer’s Wives of California including the Auxiliary's membership in that association.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Lawyer's Wives of California.
    Pain, David, Mrs.
    San Diego Bar Association Auxiliary.
    San Diego Bar Auxiliary Philanthropies, Inc..
    San Diego County Bar Association.
    Bar associations
    Blackstone Ball
    Charitable giving
    Charity organization
    Courthouse Tours
    Courthouses -- California
    Lawyers’ spouses
    San Diego (Calif.)