History of the Society
The La Jolla Historical Society was founded in 1963-64 by a small group of community leaders and local citizens dedicated to preserving the community's rich heritage and culture. However, the work of the Society actually dates back to the late 1930s with the arrival in La Jolla of Howard S.F. Randolph. A historian and genealogist from New England, Randolph advocated greater recognition of local history in the community, particularly in La Jolla's development during the 1880s and '90s. Working with the Library Association of La Jolla, Randolph established a Historical Committee and gathered photographs and documentation to create his seminal book La Jolla: Year by Year . The publication triggered increased interest in local history amongst La Jollans, culminating in a February 22, 1940, meeting in the Presbyterian Church attended by more than a hundred citizens to discuss La Jolla's recorded past and how it might be best preserved. With the community's support, Randolph's collection grew, becoming the nucleus of the significant archival collection of images and documents that the Society maintains today.
La Jollans' efforts supporting heritage education and preservation remained connected to the Library Association for years. In 1955, the Association financed a second edition of Randolph's book and, by the 1960s, community members realized a separate organization was necessary to address the growing interest in La Jolla history. After the Society's founding, the board of trustees of the Library Association in April 1964 gave the Historical Committee permission to transfer the Randolph Collection to the new organization. Articles of incorporation were filed on July 7, 1964, with the Society's first officers being Barbara Dawson (President); Hiomi Nakamura (Vice President), and Mrs. A. B. Crosby (Secretary).
Throughout its history, the Society has operated out of numerous facilities, initially working from a room in the La Jolla Federal Savings & Loan building at 1100 Wall Street. It then met in private homes until 1968 when a small office was established at 7917 Girard Avenue. In 1971, operations were moved to the La Jolla Public Library at 1010 Wall St. (location of the present-day Athenaeum). Six years later, the Society moved to the Colonial Inn. Finally, in 1981, the Society moved to its current location in a 1909 cottage at 7846 Eads Avenue, located within the historically significant Scripps-Gill cultural complex in central La Jolla.