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Mollie Harris Jewish Community Center Collection

Identifier: MS-0483

Scope and Contents

The Mollie Harris Jewish Community Center Collection consists of Harris's working papers from the Astor Judaica library regarding staff, long range planning, budgeting, publicity and working documents for programs. It includes detailed information about events and speakers, including guest registers, newspaper clippings and press releases. General program information, staff minutes, policies and documents regarding the functions of the overall JCC are also present.


  • Creation: 1960 - 1996


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Historical Note

In 1957 the Jewish Community Center moved from its original location, a storefront on El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street in North Park, to 54th Street between El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue. When he became the director of the new JCC, Joseph Astor moved the Center’s library of 538 volumes to the art gallery and engaged Mollie Harris, a professional librarian, to manage the library. Over the years, she and Joseph Astor developed a Jewish community library at the JCC.

In 1970 the Astor Family provided funds for a library facility which was named the Samuel and Rebecca Astor Judaica Library, in memory of the Astor Family parents. The Astor Family also established a memorial fund for books on Israel, in memory of Tillie Lawrence Omens, mother of M. Larry Lawrence, chief benefactor of the library. The library was dedicated by Dr. Jacob Bronowski and ten years later, in 1980, there were over 5,800 volumes in the library. In that year, the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego first met in the library. The library was the center of Jewish literary life until 1996 when the library was moved to the Lawrence Family JCC in University City. The 54th Street JCC closed in 1998.

Mollie Harris was librarian at the library in the 54th Street JCC, from the early 1960s until 1996. During her tenure as librarian, Harris built the library from a very small collection to almost 20,000 volumes. She initiated and organized an annual Jewish book fair, held regular book reviews with the help of Ida Nasatir, and engaged notable Jewish literary speakers, such as I.B. Singer and Elie Wiesel.


5 Linear Feet (Five records cartons)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The materials in this collection were donated to the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego in 2001 by Mollie Harris and her son Andrew (JHSSD #2001.08).

Source of Acquisition

The Jewish Historical Society of San Diego transferred this collection to Special Collections & University Archives on August 23, 2011.



Related Materials

Jewish Community Center of San Diego Collection, MS-0572

San Diego Jewish Newspapers Collection, MS-0482

Mollie Harris Jewish Community Center Collection
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US