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La Jolla Playhouse
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Collection Overview
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The La Jolla Playhouse Collection is made up of photographs, ephemera and archival material collected by the La Jolla Historical Society since the 1930s to use for historical research and reference and includes materials from the La Jolla Summer Playhouse, a precursor to the current La Jolla Playhouse. Founded in 1947 by Oscar-winning La Jolla native Gregory Peck with Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, La Jolla Playhouse thrived as a summer stock retreat for Hollywood luminaries. After over a decade of performances featuring numerous greats from stage and film, the Playhouse went on hiatus from 1959 – 1982. A handful of dedicated supporters fought to keep the Playhouse alive, eventually working to revive it on the campus of the University of California San Diego in 1983. Over the following decades, La Jolla Playhouse rose to prominence as one of the most celebrated regional theatres in the country. This material pertains to the history and heritage of La Jolla, California, its people, places and events. A container list is included in the PDF and HTML versions.
The La Jolla Historical Society inspires and empowers the community to make La Jolla’s diverse past a relevant part of contemporary life. 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 archaeological artifacts. The Society boasts over 20,000 photographs, over 1000 postcards, 400-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 1963. 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 modern 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 of the museum profession. 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.
1 linear foot
The La Jolla Historical Society holds the copyright to any unpublished materials
The Collection is open for research