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Jewish Community Center of San Diego Collection

Identifier: MS-0572

Scope and Contents

The Jewish Community Center of San Diego Collection consists of business records and documents regarding the documents the 54th Street JCC, North County JCC, and the Lawrence Family JCC in University City. It includes miscellaneous material from the 1950s to 2002 regarding programs, building plans, staffing rosters, photos and correspondence. There is also significant documentation regarding the Astor Judaica Library and the moving of the library from 54th Street to the Lawrence Family JCC. Other collections that contain material on the JCCs of San Diego are the Mollie Harris Jewish Community Center Collection, the Eileen S. Wingard Collection, the Cantor Henri Goldberg Collection, The Abraham Nasatir and Ida Nasatir Collections, The Jewish Federation of San Diego County Collection, the Leon Reichel Collection, the New Life Club Collection, the Loraine and Jack Stern Collection, and the San Diego Jewish Newspapers Collection.


  • Creation: 1947 - 2002

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 32nd Street in North Park to 54th Street between El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue. When Joseph Astor became the director of the new JCC, he moved the library, which then had 538 volumes, to the art gallery. Mollie Harris, a professional librarian, was engaged very soon after and she and Joseph Astor set out to develop a Jewish community library. 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 it was put into storage for several years prior to its move 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, she 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.


1 Linear Feet (One records carton )

Language of Materials


Custodial History

This collection was donated to the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego by the Astor Judaica Library at the Lawrence Family JCC in 2016 (JHSSD #2016.01) under the direction of Michael Cohen, Executive Director of the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center 4126 Executive Dr, La Jolla CA 92037. 858-457-3030.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Jewish Historical Society of San Diego transferred this collection to Special Collections & University Archives in February 2020.


February 2020

Related Materials

Mollie Harris Jewish Community Center Collection, MS-0483

San Diego Jewish Newspapers Collection, MS-0482

Jewish Community Center of San Diego Collection
Gerri Brech, Stanley Schwartz, and Laurel Schwartz
Language of description
Script of description
Marilyn Tom; Deborah Horwitz and Paul Nierman; Louis & Renee Feinswog Foundation Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation in memory of Anne Press; Herbert J. Solomon Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation; David, Ruth, Jordan, and Joshua Jacobson in memory of Ruth Doris Jacobson and Carol Sue Jacobson, Thelma and Alfred Menaker; Marilyn and Joe Bessler in memory of AL and Deb Steinberg

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

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