The Theater 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. This Collection includes information on early theaters such
as the Orient Theater, the Airdome Theatre and the Garden Theater. Much of the Collection is dedicated to the Cove Theatre
and its owner Spencer Wilson. Also mentioned are the San Diego Cinema Society and the La Jolla Community Theatre. The topics
in this Collection pertain to the history and heritage of La Jolla, California; its people, places and events. A container
list is included on 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
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