This collection contains the professional papers and materials of Louis H. Heilbron, a San Francisco-based
labor law attorney who served on several boards overseeing higher education. He was instrumental in the
development of the California State University system during the late 1950’s to 1960 when it was created.
He was an astute scholar on the issues affecting higher education. The collection includes correspondence,
publications, manuals, professional organization and conference materials, and reference materials.
Louis H. Heilbron (1907-2006) was a labor law attorney, educator, and civic leader who participated in
many of the great events of his time. Born in Newark, New Jersey to musicians Simon and Flora Karp Heilbron,
he grew up in San Francisco and attended Lowell High School with the future Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown.
He received his B.A. in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley (1928), and graduated
with a juris doctor degree from Berkeley’s Boalt Hall (1931). With the Depression raging, he worked for
the California agencies of the Department of Social Welfare (secretary, 1932), the Emergency Relief
Administration (assistant administrator, 1933; part-time consultant, 1934-1940 when the agency’s
responsibilities were transferred to the Department of Social Welfare) and again with the Department of
Social Welfare (part-time consultant, 1940-41). Concurrently, Heilbron joined the prominent San Francisco
law firm of Heller, Ehrman, White and McAuliffe (attorney 1934-1948; principle labor attorney 1948-1978;
retired partner 1978- ) where he remained affiliated, except for a brief period during World War II, for
the rest of his life. During the war, he was the principal attorney (1942-43) for the Board of Economic
Welfare. Serving as an army officer (Captain, 1943; Major, 1944-46), he helped the military coordinate
labor relations in post-war Europe. After the war, he returned to his law practice. His interest in world
affairs, intensified by the war, prompted him to join the World Affairs Council of Northern California
(1951- ; president, 1965-67), a member of the Human Rights Commission of San Francisco (1969-75; chair,
1975), and chairman of the San Francisco Commission on Foreign Relations (1977-79). He was also a Jewish
community leader and served on the boards of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (member, 1930’s-
; vice president, 1949?; president, 1949-52), Congregation Emanu-El (member, 1912- ; vice president, 1951-
1954?; president, 1954-1957), and the American Jewish Committee (president, 1958-60).
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the
Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special
Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the
copyright holder, which must also be obtained.