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Henry Schwartz Collection

Identifier: MS-0588

Scope and Contents

The Henry Schwartz Collection comprises Schwartz's research material about the history of Jews and the Jewish community in San Diego and California and consists of alphabetical research files including notes, interviews, bibliographies, and photographs. Topics include persons, synagogues, antisemitism, the Holocaust, and Jewish organizations.


  • Creation: 1960s - 1980s


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

I. (Isador) Henry Schwartz was born in 1921 in San Diego. He studied at San Diego State College and the University of California. During World War II he served in the Army in Hawaii and Saipan.

After the war, he married Eva and started a family which eventually included four daughters, Joyce, Deborah, Amy and Becky.

He operated Federal Printing Co., then became a real estate broker. When he retired from the real estate business, he devoted his time to writing. He contributed articles to San Diego Magazine, the Wrangler (a publication of the Corral of the Westerners), and other publications. He also wrote books on finance, history and several children's books with his daughter, Amy.

His most extensive research and publication was in the field of local history. He wrote three books on San Diego history which were published in the 1980's, Tales of Old Town; Kit Carson’s Long Walk and Other True Tales of Old Town; and Madam Ida and Other Gaslamp Tales. He is probably best known in the Jewish community for his long-running (1983-1989) column on local Jewish history called Our San Diego History in the San Diego Jewish Times. Some of these and other articles appeared in the Western States Jewish Quarterly and The Journal of San Diego History. In 1981 he was awarded the Copley Award from the San Diego Historical Society, Institute of History for his article in the journal called Temple Beth Israel.

Because of his historical knowledge and his perseverance, Schwartz was instrumental in saving San Diego’s first synagogue, Temple Beth Israel, and having it relocated from 2nd and Beech streets to Heritage Park in Old Town where it stands today, one of the oldest synagogue structures existing in the American West and the second oldest synagogue still standing in California.

In 1980 Henry Schwartz founded the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego (then called the San Diego Jewish Historical Society), along with his wife Eva, Nathan and Sophie Gass, Mollie and Daniel Harris, Sylvia Arden, Audrey Karsh, Lillian Altman and Abraham Nasatir.

Henry died in 1991, having passed along to new generations the knowledge he had collected about San Diego history.


2 Linear Feet (Two records cartons)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

This collection, created by historian Henry Schwartz, was donated to the Jewish Historical Socety of San Diego in 1992 by Henry Schwartz’s widow, Eva Schwartz (JHSSD #1992.01).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Jewish Historical Society of San Diego transferred this collection to Special Collections & University Archives in January 2022.


January 2022

Related Materials

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Pioneer Jewish Families Collection, MS-0583

Henry Schwartz Collection
Bonnie Harris
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Stanley and Laurel Schwartz in memory of their fathers Harry Schwartz and Martin Press, and Jewish Historical Society of San Diego in memory of Rabbi William M. Kramer, mentor and co-founder of Western States Jewish History

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

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