Guide to the Lowell Davies Papers

Finding Aid Authors: James Kenneth White and Bill Payne.
© Copyright 2008 Special Collections & University Archives. All rights reserved.
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Phone: 619-594-6791

Guide to the Lowell Davies Papers 1911/1988

Special Collections & University Archives

Overview of the Collection

Collection Title: Lowell Davies Papers
Dates: 1911-1988
Identification: MS-0046
Creator: Davies, Lowell, 1895-1983
Physical Description: 7.50 linear ft
Language of Materials: English
Repository: Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Phone: 619-594-6791

Biographical Information:

Robert Lowell Davies (known as Lowell Davies) was born in 1895 in New Almaden, California (near San Jose). Young Davies, the son of a miner, first attended elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse near Mariposa, but his father’s continual search for the mother lode kept the family on the move from one Sierra Nevada mountain town to another.
As a child, Davies enjoyed theatre and once stated that he would sometimes play “hooky” from classes on Friday afternoons so that he could go see a play. Times were lean for Davies’s family, and at the age of 13 he had to quit school in order to help support himself. He worked a number of odd jobs in the northern California area during this period, such as running errands for a pharmaceutical company and working in a curio shop. He learned how to type and to take shorthand. Although Davies never graduated, he began high school in San Francisco.
Davies eventually joined the Field Artillery branch of the U.S. Army in 1917, and was stationed at Fort Rosecrans in San Diego until his discharge in 1920. Soon after leaving the Army, he found work as the secretary to newspaper magnate, E.W. Scripps. Davies would later give credit to Scripps for instilling in him the desire and motivation to earn a college degree.
Getting into college, however, was not an easy task for Davies as he had not graduated from high school. Davies eventually did make-up those deficiencies earning all A’s, and graduating Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, Davies entered Boalt Hall School of Law. He passed the bar examination in 1927 and returned to San Diego where he began practicing law as the Chula Vista City Attorney (San Diego County). On October 28, 1929 he married Ethelind Thompson. They later had four children.
Davies worked for the city until the late 1930s when he began his private law practice, but he continued to hold onto his love of theatre. He once commented that he would often take the bus to see a show put on by an amateur troupe—known as The Barn Players—at the original Old Globe Theatre. In fact it was a chance encounter at the theatre one day that inspired Davies’s long-time professional association with the organization. In 1937 one of the actors, who knew of Davies’s law practice, asked him if he would come to the group’s Board meetings and offer them sorely needed legal advice. Davies signed on as an advisor until he was elected to the Board in 1939 and then to the presidency in 1945.
During his involvement with the Old Globe Theatre, Davies was credited with organizing the Globe 400, a group of patrons whose donations provided a scholarship fund to assist promising amateur actors. He also established the annual Old Globe’s Summer Shakespeare Festival. During the summer of 1949, Davies arranged for the world-renowned Shakespearean director, B. Iden Payne, to direct plays at the Old Globe. This was the beginning of a collaboration that lasted for many years.
Davies served on the advisory committee of the National Endowment for the Arts during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. In 1967, Davies was appointed, by then Governor Ronald Reagan, to the California Arts Commission where he served for eight years—one as the commission’s chairman. He was a former director of the County Farm Bureau, co-founder of the Combined Arts and Education Council of San Diego County, former director of the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, and a charter member of the American Legion Post #6.
Davies retired from the Old Globe’s Board of Directors in 1976 and was elected to the newly created position of Chairman of the Board. On April 8, 1979, he married Darlene Gould. In January 1983, he was named Honorary Life Chairman. Lowell Davies passed away three months later on April 29, at the age of 87. He had given 43 years of service to the Old Globe Theatre. In 1985, the outdoor Festival Stage, which had been destroyed by arson fire in 1984, was rebuilt and renamed the Lowell Davies Festival Stage. One of three venues within the theatre complex, the Festival Stage operates only during the Summer Shakespeare Festival season.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Corporate Name:

Cassius Carter Centre Stage (San Diego, Calif.)
Old Globe Theatre (San Diego, Calif.)

Genre/Form of Material:

Personal Papers

Personal Name:

Davies, Lowell, 1895-1983
Noel, Craig

Topical Term:

Theaters -- California -- San Diego
Theaters -- California -- San Diego -- History

Administrative Information



Conditions Governing Use:

The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Conditions Governing Access:

This collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation:

Identification of item, folder title, box number, Lowell Davies Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Related Materials:

Old Globe Theatre Photograph Collection
Darlene Gould Davies Papers

Scope and Contents

The Lowell Davies Papers consist of correspondence, organizational documents, architectural records, financial records, meeting minutes, committee reports, programs, publications, newspaper and magazine clippings, publicity announcement, and photographs. The collection measures 7.5 linear feet and spans the period from 1911 to 1988. The materials in this collection pertain to the production and physical history of the San Diego Old Globe Theatre (San Diego Community Theatre), including Falstaff Tavern (Cassius Carter Center Stage).
Series I: Administrative (1937-1987 and not dated) contains Old Globe Theatre building renovation and organizational records, bills and receipts, board nomination and committee lists, contracts, Lowell Davies’s personal records, proposals, pamphlets regarding Summer Theatre workshop courses at San Diego State College, and records of the Shakespearean Scholarship Fund. The building renovation records consist of architectural plans documenting renovations to the Old Globe Theatre and are stored separately in a flat file drawer. The personal records include the text of a letter written by attorney and Shakespearean scholar Cassius Carter to the editor of the San Diego Sun, dated 1905; in the letter Carter laments low local theatre attendance at a performance he had attended. Carter’s son Armistead Carter sent the text to Lowell Davies in 1968, who responded with a brief note. Additionally, these records include a letter to the editor of the San Diego Union, dated 1950, and related data sheet by a local resident who was advocating against the use of Balboa Park as a site for a 1953 exposition, and an undated article by A. Carl Messenger on how to build an audience for performing arts events.
Series II: Atlas Awards (1949-1970) contains financial reports, committee lists, agendas, program announcements, invitations, and award nominations all pertaining to the annual Atlas Awards presentation.
Series III: Correspondence (1942-1971 and not dated) consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence, and internal memoranda pertaining to the Old Globe Theatre. It also contains several items of Lowell Davies’s personal correspondence, along with handwritten and typewritten notes. Included in this series are several notes and letters from a variety of prominent San Diego personalities such as actor Dennis Hopper, former Mayor of San Diego and Governor of California Pete Wilson, actor and director Craig Noel, pioneer San Diego retailer George A. Scott, major contributor to the Old Globe Armistead B. Carter, and San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper columnist and editor Neil Morgan.
Series IV: Minutes (1945-1988) contains minutes of the meetings of the Old Globe Boards of Directors, Executive Committees, Children’s Summer Theatre Advisory Board, Civic Committee, Globe Guilders, National Shakespeare Festival Committees, and other Old Globe-related organizations.
Series V: Productions ([1935]-1971 and not dated) contains play programs from the Cassius Carter Centre Stage, Falstaff Tavern, and Old Globe Theatres. Duplicates of selected programs were retained because they include annotations that were presumably written by Lowell Davies. The series also contains fashion show programs sponsored by the Globe Guilders, and production material and literature from other San Diego theatres.
Series VI: Publications and other writings (1945-1980 and not dated) contains various Old Globe Theatre newsletters such as The Busker Curtain Call, Globaloney, The Globe Greeter, and Stage Struck, as well as Shakespeare Festival publications. It contains other regional, national, and international theatre publications, such as San Diego State Theatre Newsletter, On Stage Magazine, American Shakespeare Festival Theatre and Academy, and Danish Foreign Office Journal.
Series VII: Publicity (1948-1988 and not dated) consists of magazine and newspaper articles pertaining to the Old Globe Theatre; Old Globe membership and contributors’ lists; scripts; and flyers, pamphlets, and other forms of solicitation.
Series VIII: Reports (1948-1977 and not dated) contains Old Globe Theatre finance and treasury reports, as well as reports from the Art Center in La Jolla.
Series IX: Photographs (1911-1957 and not dated) contains black and white photographs of Lowell Davies and one photograph of actor and director N. H. Holland.

Detailed List of Contents


Administrative Files 1937-1987

Box 1, Folder 1

Bills and receipts 1947-1960

Box 1, Folder 2

Board of Directors nominatinos, committee lists and appointments 1950-1987

Box 1, Folder 3

Building renovation records [Oversized records filed in Flat File 2, Drawer 1] 1961-1970

Box 1, Folder 4

Contracts and permits 1947-1964

Box 1, Folder 5

Municipal codes pertinent to Old Globe Theatre operations 1953-1954

Box 1, Folder 6

Organizational records - articles of incorporation and amendments - La Jolla - San Diego County Theatre and Arts Foundation

Box 1, Folder 7

Organizational records - articles of incorporation and amendments - Old Globe Theatre 1937-1959

Box 1, Folder 8

Organizational records - Bylaws and amendments - Globe Guilders

Box 1, Folder 9

Organizational records - Bylaws and amendments - Old Globe Theatre (San Diego Community Theatre, scattered) 1937-1986

Box 1, Folder 10

Organizational records - Bylaws and amendments - Junior Theatre Wing 1951

Box 1, Folder 11

Organizational records - Historical background circa 1940s, 1961

Box 1, Folder 12

Organizational records - Organizational chart and list of staff responsibilities

Box 1, Folder 13

Personal records - Advocacy letters and articles 1950, 1968

Box 1, Folder 14

Personal records - Award certificate 1957

Box 1, Folder 15

Personal records - Record of hours worked 1949-1950, 1960

Box 1, Folder 16

Proposals - American Music and Arts Festival 1954

Box 1, Folder 17

Proposals - Public relations 1958

Box 1, Folder 18

San Diego State College Summer Theatre workshop courses 1949-1951

Box 1, Folder 19

Shakespearean Scholarship Fund records


Atlas Awards 1949-1970

Box 1, Folder 20

Agendas 1950-1964

Box 1, Folder 21

Award nominations 1949-1969

Box 1, Folder 22

Financial report 1960

Box 1, Folder 23

Nominating Committee rosters and lists 1951-1970

Box 1, Folder 24

Program announcements 1958-1970


Correspondence 1942-1971

Box 1, Folder 25

Incoming 1942-1946

Box 1, Folder 26

Incoming 1947-1948

Box 1, Folder 27

Incoming 1949-1951

Box 1, Folder 28

Incoming 1952-1953

Box 1, Folder 29

Incoming 1954-1955

Box 1, Folder 30

Incoming 1956-1957

Box 1, Folder 31

Incoming 1958-1959

Box 1, Folder 32

Incoming 1960-1961

Box 2, Folder 1

Incoming 1962

Box 2, Folder 2

Incoming 1962

Box 2, Folder 3

Incoming 1963-1967

Box 2, Folder 4

Incoming 1968-1971

Box 2, Folder 5

Internal memoranda 1949-1961

Box 2, Folder 6

Notes, handwritten and typewritten

Box 2, Folder 7

Outgoing 1945-1948

Box 2, Folder 8

Outgoing 1949-1951

Box 2, Folder 9

Outgoing 1952-1953

Box 2, Folder 10

Outgoing 1954-1955

Box 2, Folder 11

Outgoing 1956-1957

Box 2, Folder 12

Outgoing 1958-1959

Box 2, Folder 13

Outgoing 1960-1962

Box 2, Folder 14

Outgoing 1963-1967

Box 2, Folder 15

Outgoing 1968-1971


Minutes 1945-1988

Box 2, Folder 16

Annual meeting of members 1960-1967

Box 2, Folder 17

Board of Directors (Old Globe) 1949-1954

Box 2, Folder 18

Board of Directors (Old Globe) 1955-1957

Box 3, Folder 1

Board of Directors (Old Globe) 1958

Box 3, Folder 2

Board of Directors (Old Globe) 1959-1963

Box 3, Folder 3

Board of Directors (Old Globe) 1964-1967

Box 3, Folder 4

Board of Directors (Old Globe) 1968

Box 3, Folder 5

Board of Directors (Old Globe) 1986

Box 3, Folder 6

Board of Directors (Old Globe) 1987-1988

Box 3, Folder 7

Children's Summer Theatre Advisory Board 1945

Box 3, Folder 8

Civic Committee 1953

Box 3, Folder 9

Executive Committee 1956-1957

Box 3, Folder 10

Executive Committee 1958-1959

Box 3, Folder 11

Executive Committee 1960-1961

Box 3, Folder 12

Executive Committee 1962-1963

Box 3, Folder 13

Executive Committee 1964-1965

Box 3, Folder 14

Executive Committee 1966-1967

Box 3, Folder 15

Executive Committee 1968-1969

Box 3, Folder 16

Executive Committee 1970

Box 3, Folder 17

Executive Committee 1971

Box 3, Folder 18

Executive Committee 1972

Box 3, Folder 19

Executive Committee 1973

Box 4, Folder 1

Executive Committee 1974

Box 4, Folder 2

Executive Committee 1975

Box 4, Folder 3

Executive Committee 1976

Box 4, Folder 4

Executive Committee 1986-1988

Box 4, Folder 5

Globe Guilders 1960-1961

Box 4, Folder 6

Globe Guilders 1962-1963

Box 4, Folder 7

National Shakespeare Festival Committee 1953-1954, 1960

Box 4, Folder 8

Other Old Globe-related meetings 1954-1956

Box 4, Folder 9

Old Globe Theatre - Art Center in La Jolla Joint Committee 1961-1962


Production Files 1935-1971

Box 4, Folder 10

Cassius Carter Centre Stage play programs 1969-1971

Box 4, Folder 11

Falstaff Tavern play programs 1964-1967

Box 4, Folder 12

Globe Guilders fashion productions 1960

Box 4, Folder 13

Old Globe Theatre - Cast and character lists 1955, n.d.

Box 4, Folder 14

Old Globe Theatre - Guest lists 1955

Box 4, Folder 15

Old Globe Theatre - Play programs 1935-1952

Box 4, Folder 16

Old Globe Theatre - Play programs 1953-1955

Box 4, Folder 17

Old Globe Theatre - Play programs 1956-1959

Box 4, Folder 18

Old Globe Theatre - Play programs 1960-1961

Box 4, Folder 19

Old Globe Theatre - Play programs 1962-1963

Box 4, Folder 20

Old Globe Theatre - Play programs 1964-1965

Box 4, Folder 21

Old Globe Theatre - Play programs 1966-1970

Box 4, Folder 22

Theatre play selections and dates 1948-1956

Box 4, Folder 23

Other San Diego theatre production material 1950, 1958, 1962


Publications 1945-1980

Box 5, Folder 1

Old Globe newsletters - The Busker 1950-1951

Box 5, Folder 2

Old Globe newsletters - Curtain Call 1948

Box 5, Folder 3

Old Globe newsletters - Globaloney 1945-1946

Box 5, Folder 4

Old Globe newsletters - The Globe Greeter 1953-1958

Box 5, Folder 5

Old Globe newsletters - Guilder Gazette 1961-1964

Box 5, Folder 6

Old Globe newsletters - Stage Struck 1965

Box 5, Folder 7

Old Globe Theatre National Shakespeare Festival 1964-1968, 1980

Box 5, Folder 8

Old Globe Theatre National Shakespeare Festival 1969-1970, 1972

Box 5, Folder 9

The American Shakespeare Festival: The Birth of a Theatre (John Houseman and Jack Landau) 1959

Box 5, Folder 10

American Shakespeare Festival Theatre and Academy Repertory Season 1962

Box 5, Folder 11

Danish Foreign Office Journal 1953

Box 5, Folder 12

The Fine Arts Society of San Diego

Box 5, Folder 13

Newsletter, The Oregon Shakespearean Festival 1956-1964

Box 5, Folder 14

On Stage Magazine 1970-1971

Box 5, Folder 15

Point 1950-1954

Box 5, Folder 16

The Rotator 1961

Box 5, Folder 17

Shakespeare (Oregon Shakespearean Festival) 1952, 1959, 1960

Box 5, Folder 18

San Diego State Theatre Newsletter 1961-1964

Box 5, Folder 19

Stanford Today 1957

Box 5, Folder 20

Reviews and synopses of plays


Publicity Files 1948-1988

Box 5, Folder 1

Magazine articles 1950-1986

Box 5, Folder 2

Membership and contributors lists 1948, n.d.

Box 5, Folder 3

Newspaper articles 1950-1988

Box 5, Folder 4

Newspaper articles 1950-1988

Box 5, Folder 5


Box 5, Folder 6

Solicitations and flyers 1949-1970, n.d.

Box 5, Folder 7

Solicitations and flyers 1949-1970, n.d.

Box 5, Folder 8

Solicitations and flyers 1949-1970, n.d.

Box 5, Folder 9

Solicitations and flyers 1949-1970, n.d.

Box 5, Folder 10

Solicitations and flyers 1949-1970, n.d.

Box 5, Folder 11

Solicitations and flyers 1949-1970, n.d.


Reports 1948-1977

Box 6, Folder 1

Art Center in La Jolla 1960-1961

Box 6, Folder 2

Box office and finance 1948-1959

Box 6, Folder 3

Box office and finance 1960-1963

Box 6, Folder 4

Box office and finance 1964-1965

Box 6, Folder 5

Box office and finance 1968-1969

Box 6, Folder 6

Box office and finance 1970-1971

Box 6, Folder 7

Box office and finance 1972

Box 6, Folder 8

Box office and finance 1973-1974

Box 6, Folder 9

Box office and finance 1975-1976

Box 6, Folder 10

Box office and finance 1977

Box 6, Folder 11

Box office and finance N.D.

Box 6, Folder 12

Box office and finance - Interior Committee, Summer Festival Organization n.d.

Box 6, Folder 13

Box office and finance - Treasurer 1946


Photographs 1911-1957

Box 6, Folder 14

Photographs 1911-1957