The Thomas Shepherd Collection was donated to the La Jolla Historical Society by Thomas Shepherd’s wife, Ruth, in 1992. Shepherd
is recognized as a Master Architect by the City of San Diego. Born in Wisconsin in 1897, he studied architecture at Columbia
University in New York. He traveled around Europe and developed his own approach to architectural design. Moving to southern
California, he interned under George Washington Smith in Santa Barbara. In 1926 he arrived in La Jolla and partnered with
Herbert J. Mann. Shepherd began designing homes in the Barber Tract, La Jolla Hermosa and the Muirlands. In La Jolla Hermosa
he also worked with Edgar V. Ullrich. Shepherd is especially known for customizing his designs to suit the lifestyle of his
clients. See separate listing of the architectural drawings in this Collection under “Additional Collection Guides.”
The La Jolla Historical Society inspires and empowers the community to make La Jolla’s diverse past a relevant part of contemporary
The La Jolla Historical Society’s Collections encompass over 80 years of actively collecting archival material, books, maps,
scrapbooks, ephemera, fine art, newspapers, street and land use files, business and personal documents and historic and prehistoric
artifacts. The Society boasts over 20,000 photographs, over 1000 postcards, 600-plus architectural drawings and approximately
200 oral history recordings.
Collecting was initiated by Howard Randolph and volunteers on the historical committee of the Library Association of La Jolla.
The Collection began by gathering photographs and documentation in the late 1930s, which later became the nucleus of the La
Jolla Historical Society’s Collections. The Society was created in 1964.
Through many moves in location the Society continued collecting and expanding. Accumulated Collections took on its current
construct in 2010 after the renovation of the La Jolla Historical Society’s campus of structures in central La Jolla, which
consists of the 1904 Wisteria Cottage and 1940s Balmer Annex used for exhibits and programming, and a 1909 cottage used for
business and research offices. The late Ellen Browning Scripps’ 1916 automobile garage was also renovated and now houses
the Collection in a state-of-the-art collections storage facility. Materials are housed in archival boxes, sleeves, envelopes
and other archival-safe materials and are cared for according to standards and best practices. In 2016, the Society initiated
new PastPerfect Museum Software to manage and catalog its Collections and in 2018 started using the Online Archive of California
to upload searchable information from its Collections to enable improved public access. The Society will continue these processes
and look forward to utilizing new opportunities to collect, preserve and share the history of La Jolla.