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Register of the Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County. Records
MSS 0152  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Background
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County. Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1947-1980
    Collection number: MSS 0152
    Creator: Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County
    Extent: 10.92 linear feet (26 archive boxes and 4 oversize folders)
    Repository: Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD
    La Jolla, CA 92093-0175
    Abstract: Records of the Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County, a non-profit corporation founded in 1954 to promote the county's cultural development through educational lecture programs, special events, international friendship programs, and the performing arts, especially the La Jolla Playhouse. Materials include correspondence with funding organizations; prominent San Diego supporters of the arts, including James S. Copley and William F. Black; and Hollywood supporters Gregory Peck, Mel Ferrer and Vincent Price. The administrative functions of the Foundation are well documented through fundraising materials for the La Jolla Playhouse; financial reports; photographs of committees, benefits and buildings; project files, such as the Yokohama Friendship Commission materials; and legal documents related to incorporation and litigation. Also included are reel-to-reel audiorecordings (1958-1961) of the Meet the Scientist Lecture Series, a program to encourage careers in science. The bulk of the records date between 1954 and 1980, although several files relate to the early development of the La Jolla Playhouse beginning in 1947. The records are arranged in nine series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) FUNDRAISING MATERIALS, 3) LEGAL MATERIALS, 4) LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE, 5) MEET THE SCIENTIST LECTURE SERIES, 6) YOKOHAMA FRIENDSHIP COMMISSION, 7) PHOTOGRAPHS, 8) FINANCIAL MATERIALS, and 9) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.
    Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Use of original recordings located in boxes 15-20 is restricted, listening copies for research use are prepared on demand.

    Preferred Citation

    Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County. Records, MSS 0152. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Historical Background

    The Jolla Playhouse was established in the spring of 1947 by Hollywood actors Mel Ferrer, Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire under the management of producer David Selznick of the Actors Company of Hollywood. The Playhouse was created to showcase motion picture actors and actresses and to fulfill a public desire for legitimate professional theatre in San Diego. The Playhouse soon enlisted the financial sponsorship of the La Jolla Kiwanis Club. Between 1947-1954, the Playhouse featured classic and new plays, as well as modified versions of Broadway successes. Celebrites such as Vincent Price, Eva Gabor, Vivian Vance, and Charleton Heston performed on stage with the La Jolla Playhouse.
    In 1954, the La Jolla-San Diego County Theatre and Arts Foundation, later renamed the Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County, was incorporated to promote cultural development through the performing arts and to conduct a campaign for funds to build a performing arts center for the benefit of the community. At the time, the La Jolla Playhouse staged productions at the La Jolla High School auditorium. That same year, the Foundation was granted non-profit, tax-exempt status and assumed sponsorship of the La Jolla Playhouse. Marian Longstreth became the Foundation president and began developing a public appreciation of the arts through educational lectures, outside attractions, and a robust fundraising campaign. The Playhouse relied on local, membership and corporate donations, and, by 1961, had acquired acreage on the campus of the University of California, San Diego, to build a sizable theatre, but lacked major funding for the building.
    The Theatre and Arts Foundation hosted the "Meet the Scientist" Lecture Series that featured presentations by internationally prominent local scientists to high school students, as well as the premiere showing of Gregory Peck's film "To Kill a Mockingbird". The Foundation also became involved with the Yokohama Friendship Commission of San Diego, undertaking a book exchange project and fabric exhibition with San Diego's sister city of Yokohama, Japan.
    In 1978, the University of California's Board of Regents approved the new theater plans and two years later ground was broken, only after a substantial contribution from Mandell Weiss. The opening night at the new theater was June 24, 1983, thirty-six years after the first mention of the La Jolla Playhouse.

    Scope and Content

    The records of the Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County document the organization's functions and promotion of art and culture in San Diego County, including its administrative and financial support for the La Jolla Playhouse. The records include business correspondence; fundraising letters and development materials; financial reports; photographs of performers, members, and social events; project files for programs, legal property negotiation documents, and articles of incorporation. The bulk of the material dates between 1954 and 1965, although several files related to the La Jolla Playhouse date from 1947.
    The records are arranged in nine series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) FUNDRAISING MATERIALS, 3) LEGAL MATERIALS, 4) LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE, 5) MEET THE SCIENTIST LECTURE SERIES, 6) YOKOHAMA FRIENDSHIP COMMISSION, 7) PHOTOGRAPHS, 8) FINANCIAL MATERIALS, and 9) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.
    SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE
    The CORRESPONDENCE series, arranged alphabetically, primarily contains letters to or from Marian Longstreth, the president of the Foundation, and various board/theatre members of the community and documents the Foundation's activities and growth from 1954-1980.
    SERIES 2: FUNDRAISING MATERIALS
    The FUNDRAISING MATERIALS series is arranged in five subseries: A) La Jolla Playhouse Building Campaign, B) Committees, C) Donor Contributions, D) Events and Benefits, and E) Marketing.
    Both the Building Campaign and Donor Contributions subseries document fundraising specifically for the new theatre building. Included are pledge solicitation letters, prospective donor lists by region, reports, and brochures illustrating the building model and site.
    The Events and Benefits subseries contains subject files on actual fundraising benefits, including programs and expense reports. The Committees subseries documents the activity of the subcommittees organized to support fundraising events.
    The Marketing subseries contains files from public relations promotion companies and fundraising recommendation documents.
    SERIES 3: LEGAL MATERIALS
    The LEGAL MATERIALS series contains legal documents concerning the operational structure of the Foundation and largely relate to theatre property negotiations. It is arranged in four subseries: A) Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, B) Litigation Documents, C) Ligitation Invoices, and D) Miscellaneous Materials.
    The Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws subseries contains legal documents outlining the mission statement and purpose of the Foundation, as well as the verification of the status and organizational responsibilites.
    The remaining subseries, Litigation Documents, Litigation Invoices, and Miscellaneous Materials contain legal documents prepared by Sullivan, Jones and Archer and other attorneys negiotiating the property development for the La Jolla Playhouse.
    SERIES 4: LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE
    The LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE series is arranged in four subseries: A) Apprenticeships, B) Children's Programs, C) School of Drama, and D) Season Productions. The bulk of material documents the Playhouse's educational outreach programs, including the School of Drama. The School of Drama was created to give young performers theatre training by providing opportunities in acting, dance, and movement classes. Materials also include the seasonal production programs and flyers, invitations, and performer correspondence between 1947-1966.
    SERIES 5: MEET THE SCIENTIST LECTURE SERIES
    The MEET THE SCIENTIST series, arranged chronologically, contains reel-to-reel audiorecordings, slides, and notes of selected lectures given at San Diego high schools by local scientists between 1958-1961. Many of the scientists represented in the collections were researchers at Gulf Atomic, General Dynamics/Convair or the Scripps Institution of Oceangraphy.
    SERIES 6: YOKOHAMA FRIENDSHIP COMMISSION
    The YOKOHAMA FRIENDSHIP COMMISSION series, arranged chronologically, documents the Bookshelves Exchange Project and Japanese Fabric Print Exhibition with the city of Yokohama, Japan. Materials include correspondence with Commission officials and donors, book publication lists, photographs and slides, and the 1963 Bookshelves Project scrapbook.
    SERIES 7: PHOTOGRAPHS
    The PHOTOGRAPHS series contains mostly black-and-white photographs of event publicity and performers. Of particular interest are photographs of La Jolla Playhouse founders Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer.
    SERIES 8: FINANCIAL MATERIALS
    The FINANCIAL MATERIALS series contains summary financial records for the respective years of 1954-1978. The series is arranged in three subseries: A) Insurance, B) Summaries, and C) Tax Records. These subseries document the financial operations of the Foundation, including materials such as liability insurance documents, financial summaries, including account book ledgers, and filed tax returns from 1959-1977.
    SERIES 9: MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS
    The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series contains celebrity recipes, Foundation histories, theatre construction bid documents, and other memorabilia. Of particular interest is a scrapbook (1961-1967) of newspaper clippings and pasted-in memorabilia created by UCSD provost John Stewart.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Science.
    Performing arts--California--San Diego.
    Theatre--California--San Diego.
    Science--Vocational guidance.
    Science--Study and teaching (Secondary)--California--San Diego.
    Scientists--California--San Diego.