archive collage

Jewish Historical Society of San Diego Archives

Historic treasures and abundant research opportunities await you in the Jewish Historical Society Archives at San Diego State University. This archives, in partnership with the Jewish Studies Program and Love Library's Special Collections and University Archives, maintains the papers and photographs of the Jewish community of San Diego's distant and more recent past. 

Researchers from across the country and around the world have used material from our archives in films; created original performance pieces; completed doctoral dissertations and master's theses. Materials from our archives have been published in international magazines and in books. In 2017-2018, many photos and documents from the collections were used in the exhibition, “Celebrate San Diego! The History and Heritage of San Diego’s Jewish Community” at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. (Second photo from the left above)

San Diego State University Library, Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA), is the archival repository for the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego. See library map for location.

The online finding aid database contains full descriptions and holdings information for all JHSSD collections.    For more specific searches go to

Special Collections is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except holidays. Up-to-date hours can be found on the library calendar.  

Contact Special Collections & University Archives

Location: Love Library, Room 150
Phone: (619) 594-6791
Email: [email protected]

The parking portal has all necessary information for permits, visitor lots and pay stations. You may familiarize yourself with the campus by using the online interactive campus map. There are also numerous wayfinding kiosks and maps around campus. 

The Malcolm A. Love Library is adjacent to the Bookstore and is identifiable by the large glass dome. Enter through any of the glass doors. Special Collections is located on the first floor of the library, room 150.

For questions regarding the collections you may also contact the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation. 

Curator: Laurel Schwartz
Phone: (619) 232-5888
Email: [email protected]

Mailing Address:
Jewish Historical Society of San Diego
1934 Pentuckett Ave.
San Diego CA 92104

About the Archives

In 1999, the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego, under the leadership of Stanley and Laurel Schwartz partnered with the Jewish Studies Program, formerly the Lipinsky Institute for Judaic Studies, directed by Dr. Lawrence Baron. Together they established the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego Archives. The Archives consists of documents, papers, letters, books, photographs, and other materials that people have collected over the years about their lives here in San Diego and about San Diego’s Jewish organizations and institutions. 

The Archives formally opened in 2000, the year of the Society's 20th Anniversary and the Jewish Studies Program's 30th Anniversary, with a program celebrating 150 years of San Diego Jewry. (Photo on the right above) The first and largest collection accessioned, was the personal papers of Rabbi Morton J. Cohn, who was a reform rabbi in San Diego for nearly 40 years from the 1940's-1980's. 

Since that time, the number of collections has greatly increased, with strengths in women's and men's communal organizations, clerical papers, Jewish Community Center, Jewish Federation, synagogue histories and San Diego Jewish newspapers. There are also significant collections of research notes on pioneer Jews. 

The materials in the Archives date from the mid-19th century to the 21st century. The 19th century material consists of published and unpublished papers on local Jewish history and copies of primary source material from other institutions. Original materials in the Archives date from the 1910's into the 21st century. (First photo on the left above: 1930’s Adolph & Eleanora Levi Family; Third photo from the left above: 1950 B’nai B’rith Girls Installation of Officers) 

To donate either personal and public materials, relating to the Jewish community of San Diego, either in original form or copies, contact Special Collections and University Archives.