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Cantor Henri Goldberg Collection

Identifier: MS-0508

Scope and Contents

The Cantor Henri Goldberg Collection consists of the cantor's correspondence, writings, poems, and sermons, as well as autobiographical information. The collection includes significant documentation regarding the Jewish Community Center choir such as scrapbook contents, copies of newspaper clippings, programs and photographs, copies of lectures and services, songbooks and musical plays. The collection also includes reel to reel tapes of services and concerts at the JCC and at the various congregations where Cantor Goldberg officiated. Fourteen of these tapes have been transferred onto CDs and are included with this collection.

The collection is arranged into seven series: Biographical files, Correspondence, Writings, Congregational files, Subject files, Music, and Audio.

The Biographical files series contains a small amount of material regarding Goldberg's career and life events, including a brief autobiographical resume.

The Correspondence series includes personal and professional correspondence dating from Goldberg's days in Germany before emigrating to the United States to his final years in San Diego.

The Writings series includes personal and professional writings. The bulk of the material consists of notes for speeches and greetings Goldberg made to mark special occasions such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Bar Mitzvahs, and funerals. Some of these notes may be drafts of letters. There is a smaller amount of material typed in German that appears to be of a more scholarly nature and may be notes for services Goldberg delivered in Germany. The series is arranged in chronological order.

The Congregational files series consists of materials produced in the course of Goldberg's work as as cantor and choir director at each of the various synagogues for which he worked, as well as the Jewish Community Center in San Diego. This series includes the programs and related materials for the Jewish Music Month concerts Goldberg organized in San Diego, and documents some of the Bat and Bar Mitzvahs Goldberg performed at Temple Solel and Congregation Beth Israel. The series is arranged in chronological order.

The Subject files series includes documentation on the various professional associations with which Goldberg was involved, musical services at other synagogues, and material regarding Jewish music and people. The series is arranged in roughly chronological order.

The Music series documents Goldberg's religious and secular musical performaces as a cantor and choir director. The series includes the text of Cantor Goldberg's musical sermons, musical set lists, songbooks, and sheet music. The series is arranged into three subseries: Services and concerts, Songbooks, and Sheet music.

The Audio series contains recordings of Goldberg's concerts and temple services made in Detroit, Lafayette, and San Diego.


  • Creation: 1939 - 1977


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.

Biographical Note

Born in 1892, Henri Goldberg received his music education at Stern’s Conservatory in Berlin, under the direction of Professor Gustav Hollaender. He was director of the Detroit Jewish Folk Chorus for 15 years, performing with guest artists such as Alexander Kipnis and Regina Resnik. Simultaneously, he was choir director for the largest Conservative Congregation in Detroit, Sharey Zedek, music teacher at various Jewish schools and choirmaster of several secular choirs in nearby cities. In 1959 he was appointed cantor and choir director for Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, California. In 1963, in San Diego, he was cantor for the brief life of Temple Solel, a breakaway congregation from Congregation Beth Israel and cantor after its merger back into Beth Israel in 1968. He also held positions at Tifereth Israel Synagogue and Beth Tefilah Congregation in the 1970s. He directed the Jewish Community Center Choir at the 54th Street Jewish Community Center during the 1960s. Goldberg was also an avid fisherman.


2 Linear Feet (Two records cartons)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Cantor Goldberg's papers and music were given to Maestro David Amos by the cantor's wife, Mollie Goldberg, in July 2003. Amos gave them to the new Astor Judaica Library at the Lawrence Family JCC which gave Goldberg's personal papers to the JHSSD in 2004 (JHSSD #2004.01). The sheet music collection was kept by the Astor Judaica Library. Included in the collection are the Cantor’s personal papers and a scrapbook donated by Sylvia Arden in October 2004 regarding the 54th St. JCC Music Committee and Cantor Henri Goldberg. More materials were donated by the Library Committee in 2011.

Source of Acquisition

The Jewish Historical Society of San Diego transferred this collection to Special Collections & University Archives in 2014.



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Cantor Henri Goldberg Collection
Bonnie M. Harris and Laurel Schwartz, and Adam Burkhart
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

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