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Guide to the San Diego Open Forum Records MS 133
MS 133  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Processing Information
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Scope and Content
  • Comments

  • Title: San Diego Open Forum Records
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 133
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
    Date (inclusive): 1918-1974
    Abstract: This collection contains meeting minutes and other business papers of the San Diego Open Forum, a non-profit organization promoting free speech, from 1918 to 1974.
    creator: San Diego Open Forum.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Samantha Mills on March 27, 2013.
    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.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open for research.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials.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

    Preferred Citation

    San Diego Open Forum Records, MS 133, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.


    Collection is arranged by subject.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    The San Diego Open Forum was founded in 1919 to promote democracy and freedom of speech in San Diego County. The organization was inspired after an incident in 1918 in which police prevented a lecture by investigative reporter Lincoln Steffens at the First Unitarian Church for fear of a gathering mob of protesters. Founders included prominent citizens Lyman J. Gage, George A. Garrett, E.M. Scofield, William E. Ritter, W. Templeton Johnson, Douglas Young, Judge Spencer M. Marsh, and the Reverend Dr. Howard Bard.
    Beginning in 1919, the Open Forum presented an annual series of lectures from October through May, hosted by Dr. Bard at the First Unitarian Church. The group hosted academics, doctors, activists, and controversial figures from a variety of political backgrounds. The Open Forum remained active for 55 years. By the 1970s, they faced competition from lecture series at local universities and in televised broadcasts, and in 1974 the Board of Directors gave in to the decline in funding and attendance and dissolved the organization.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains meeting minutes and other business papers of the San Diego Open Forum, a non-profit organization promoting free speech, from 1918 to 1974. Meeting minutes for the Board of Directors run from 1959 through the organization’s dissolution in 1974. Other business papers include their Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws (as adapted in 1933); financial papers (including correspondence with their ongoing funder, the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation); brochures advertising their annual lecture series; and numerous press releases and newspaper clippings.


    "San Diego Open Forum Newspaper Clippings" (Box 1 folders 17-18) are photocopies of newspaper clippings originally contained in a binder.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation.
    First Unitarian Church (San Diego, Calif.).
    San Diego Open Forum.
    Freedom of speech
    San Diego (Calif.)