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Robert Levi Collection

Identifier: MS-0580

Scope and Contents

The Robert Levi Collection consists of Robert Norman Levi's research files about the Levi family of San Diego dating from 1850 to 2020. Materials include copies of primary and secondary source documents with indexed timelines created by Robert Levi, as well as some materials about later generations of the family. There are also digital and hardcopy family photos and a copy of Robert Levi's grandfather Edgar Levi’s 1908 travel diary.


  • Creation: 1850 - 2020


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

Robert Norman Levi is a great-grandson of San Diego Jewish pioneers Adolph and Eleanora Levi. Born in San Diego in 1951 to Norman and Rosalie Levi, Robert grew up in Point Loma. His professional life has been in publishing and marketing. In 1989 he began researching, preserving and documenting his family’s history and in 2004 he wrote a book on the subject: “Adolph Levi, The Life and Times of a San Diego Pioneer.”

Adolph Levi was one of five brothers who came to San Diego in the second half of the 19th century. Brother Simon (Ermance), a merchant and wholesaler for the Klauber & Levi Company, was active in both civil and religious communities. He was one of the founders and president of the Lasker Lodge of B’nai B’rith and the president of Congregation Beth Israel, as was his brother Adolph (Eleanora). Adolph was a merchant, rancher, livery owner and real estate owner with businesses and holdings throughout San Diego County. Both brothers were charter members of the Masonic Lodge. Simon served on many boards of trustees and was involved in civic affairs. Nathan, Rudolph and Isaac were merchants and livery men and Isaac became a judge in Julian. Their wives were founders and active in some of San Diego’s early women’s organizations.

Some members of the Levi and Cushman families remain prominent in San Diego civic affairs, business, and real estate.


3.0 Linear Feet (Three records cartons)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Robert Levi donated a copy of his book on Adolph Levi, digital photos of his family, and some miscellaneous materials to the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego in 2004 (JHSSD #2004.01). In 2019 he donated fourteen binders of his research materials, consisting of copies of indexed primary source documents about the five Levi brothers and their descendants.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Jewish Historical Society of San Diego transferred this collection to Special Collections & University Archives in August 2021.


August 2021

Related Materials

Donald H. Harrison Collection, MS-0581

Audrey Karsh Collection, MS-0578

Lasker Lodge Collection, MS-0426

Pioneer Jewish Families Collection, MS-0583

Henry Schwartz Collection, MS-0588

Robert Levi Collection
Stanley and Laurel Schwartz
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
The Norman G. Levi Family Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation, and Robert and Nonie Levi

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

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