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Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County Records
MSS 0152  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Historical Background
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Restrictions
  • Digital Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Languages: English
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla 92093-0175
    Title: Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County Records
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0152
    Physical Description: 10.92 Linear feet (26 archive boxes and 4 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1947-1980
    Abstract: Records of the Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County, a non-profit corporation founded in 1954 to promote cultural development through educational lecture programs, special events, international friendship programs, and the performing arts, especially the La Jolla Playhouse.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Records of the Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County, a non-profit corporation founded in 1954 to promote cultural development through educational lecture programs, special events, international friendship programs, and the performing arts, especially the La Jolla Playhouse. Materials include correspondence with funding organizations; prominent San Diego supporters of the arts, including James S. Copley and William F. Black; and Hollywood supporters Gregory Peck, Mel Ferrer and Vincent Price. The administrative functions of the Foundation are well documented through fundraising materials for the La Jolla Playhouse; financial reports; photographs of committees, benefits, buildings and performers; project files, such as the Yokohama Friendship Commission materials; and legal documents related to incorporation and litigation. Also included are reel-to-reel sound recordings (1958-1961) of the Meet the Scientist Lecture Series, a program to encourage young people's careers in science. The bulk of the records date between 1954 and 1980, although several files relate to the early development of the La Jolla Playhouse beginning in 1947.
    Arranged in nine series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) FUNDRAISING MATERIALS, 3) LEGAL MATERIALS, 4) LA JOLLA PLAYHOUSE, 5) MEET THE SCIENTIST LECTURE SERIES, 6) YOKOHAMA FRIENDSHIP COMMISSION, 7) PHOTOGRAPHS, 8) FINANCIAL MATERIALS, and 9) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.

    Historical Background

    The Jolla Playhouse was established in the spring of 1947 by Hollywood actors Mel Ferrer, Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire under the management of producer David Selznick of the Actors Company of Hollywood. The Playhouse was created to showcase motion picture actors and actresses and to fulfill a public desire for legitimate professional theatre in San Diego. The Playhouse soon enlisted the financial sponsorship of the La Jolla Kiwanis Club. Between 1947-1954, the Playhouse featured classic and new plays, as well as modified versions of Broadway successes. Celebrites such as Vincent Price, Eva Gabor, Vivian Vance, and Charleton Heston performed on stage with the La Jolla Playhouse.
    In 1954, the La Jolla-San Diego County Theatre and Arts Foundation, later renamed the Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County, was incorporated to promote cultural development through the performing arts and to conduct a campaign for funds to build a performing arts center for the benefit of the community. At the time, the La Jolla Playhouse staged productions at the La Jolla High School auditorium. That same year, the Foundation was granted non-profit, tax-exempt status and assumed sponsorship of the La Jolla Playhouse. Marian Longstreth became the Foundation president and began developing a public appreciation of the arts through educational lectures, outside attractions, and a robust fundraising campaign. The Playhouse relied on local, membership and corporate donations, and, by 1961, had acquired acreage on the campus of the University of California, San Diego, to build a sizable theatre, but lacked major funding for the building.
    The Theatre and Arts Foundation hosted the "Meet the Scientist" Lecture Series that featured presentations by internationally prominent local scientists to high school students, as well as the premiere showing of Gregory Peck's film "To Kill a Mockingbird". The Foundation also became involved with the Yokohama Friendship Commission of San Diego, undertaking a book exchange project and fabric exhibition with San Diego's sister city of Yokohama, Japan.
    In 1978, the University of California's Board of Regents approved the new theater plans and two years later ground was broken, only after a substantial contribution from Mandell Weiss. The opening night at the new theater was June 24, 1983, thirty-six years after the first mention of the La Jolla Playhouse.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the Regents of the University of California.

    Preferred Citation

    Theatre and Arts Foundation of San Diego County Records. MSS 152. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Restrictions

    Original reel-to-reel sound recordings are restricted for preservation. Digital listening copies are available.

    Digital Content

    Sound recordings from this collection have been digitized and are available for listening online.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Science
    Scientists -- California -- San Diego
    Theater -- California -- San Diego
    Performing arts -- California -- San Diego
    Lectures and lecturing
    Pigford, Thomas H.
    Munk, Walter H. (Walter Heinrich), 1917-
    Liebermann, L. N. (Leonard Norman), 1915-2016
    La Jolla Playhouse, Inc.
    Ryan, James D.
    Jensen, David, 1926-
    Harshbarger, F. C.
    Harris, Vincent
    Erickson, W. C.