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Gert Thaler Collection

Identifier: MS-0599

Scope and Contents

The Gert Thaler Collection consists of Thaler's papers documenting her professional and civic activities as well as Thaler family documents, and includes hardcopy photos and digital family photos and genealogy documents. Scrapbook contents, photos, programs, clippings and invitations from Hadassah, the Jolly Sixteen, and the Women's Association of Allied Beverages Industries are also included.


  • Creation: 1927 - 2005
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1930s - 1960s

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

Gertrude (Gert) Thaler (1920-2012) was born in San Diego. She began writing her “Heart to Heart” column in the “Southwest Jewish Press Heritage” in 1934 when she was thirteen years old, which continued in that newspaper and in various other local Jewish newspapers until 2007. The daughter of George and Anna Shelley, she followed in her mother’s footsteps, supporting all things Jewish in San Diego, in Israel and beyond. She was a local and regional leader of Hadassah; a founder and president of Adat Ami Synagogue (now Ohr Shalom Synagogue) and she was active in other congregations as well. Thaler worked on various committees at the Jewish Community Center, was the founder and first president of the Jewish National Fund in San Diego and was active in the United Jewish Federation and the Anti-Defamation League. She knew about everyone and everything Jewish in San Diego, but her efforts and philanthropy did not stop there. She gave of herself to the city of San Diego, to secular organizations on the national level and to the city of Tel Aviv, Israel. She was also a Jewish Historical Society of San Diego member.

Anna Shelley, Gert Thaler’s mother, came to San Diego before 1916. She was married to Mr. I. Klaskin (or Klazkin) with whom she had four children. He died in 1916 and in 1919 she married George Shelley, a widower with nine children. Gert Thaler is the only child of George and Anna Shelley. Anna Shelley was a leader in the Jewish community and was active in Jewish organizations and congregations. See the Michael Naiman Collection, photos and Edith Naiman Diary, in 4/2022 still possession of JHSSD.

The Jolly Sixteen was a women’s organization which was started before World War I. It was originally a benevolent organization called the Jolly Sewing Circle. It always had sixteen members, so membership was only available if someone left. The group started the Hebrew Home for the Aged and joined with several other women’s groups to found Federated Jewish Charities, which eventually became Jewish Family Service of San Diego.

Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America was founded in 1912 by Henrietta Szold to aid the Jews of Europe and Palestine. Hadassah established and continues to support youth villages and hospitals in Palestine which serve all people in what is now Israel. The San Diego Chapter dates to the 1930s.


.42 Linear Feet (One Hollinger box)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The Gert Thaler collection (JHSSD #2008.04) comprises records from several donors. In 2008 Gert Thaler donated three scrapbooks to the Jewish Historical Society of San Diego: a Jolly Sixteen Scrapbook (1930s-1960s), a San Diego Chapter of Hadassah Scrapbook (1930s-1960s), and a San Diego Chapter of Hadassah Scrapbook of newspaper clippings (September 1946 to December 5, 1947) compiled by Lillian Heiman, Publicity Chairman. Thaler also donated personal photographs and biographical materials about her and her husband, Morton Thaler, including materials regarding the Women's Association of Allied Beverages Industries. In 2010, the items from separate Jolly Sixteen donations were added to the Gert Thaler Collection. Those items consisted of a recipe book donated by Inez Jacobson and the 1927 publication of the "Daily Snooze" donated by Joyce Disraeli. There is also a Shelley Family Tree, donated by Myron Shelley, Gert Thaler’s nephew. See also Myron Shelley Collection. After Gert's death in 2012, her daughter Linda Neiman donated digital images of family photographs and documents. There are several digital interviews with Gert in the JHSSD’s Oral History Collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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


July 2022

Related Materials

Adat Ami Synagogue Collection, MS-0492

Anti-Defamation League of San Diego Collection, MS-0424

Jewish Federation of San Diego County Collection, MS-0554

Jewish Historical Society of San Diego Oral History Archive, MS-0590

Woman's Institute for Continuing Jewish Education Collection, MS-0464

Gert Thaler Collection
Bonnie Harris and Laurel Schwartz
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

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