La Jolla team working to preserve newspaper collection


Staff Writer

La Jolla Historical Society and La Jolla Library have teamed up to provide an archival collection of the La Jolla Light and Journal going back to almost 1900.

“Dividing the collection has not been a bad idea as far as protecting it, and then duplicating it has been a good way to make sure these things remain available,” said Historical Society archivist/curator Michael Mishler.

He and volunteer assistant Susanne Hayase have been compiling print copies of La Jolla newspapers including photographs, which are now stored in the converted, climate-controlled historic Carriage House on Eads Avenue, once owned by Ellen Browning Scripps and lived in by her chauffer.

Elsewhere in the Village in the History Room on the second floor of La Jolla Public Library at 7555 Draper Ave., volunteer Darryl Templer has been equally busy since 2004 creating a topical index of La Jolla Light from 1960 to 1994.

“I went year by year, page by page, article by article to identify biographical information, various kinds of politics and small-town history information,” said Templer, who added his interest in genealogy also led him to index Light obituaries.

“We’ve put them (indexes) all on an Excel spreadsheet,” noted Templer, adding the library has bound copies of the Light from 1960 to 1994. Since 1994, only weekly hard copies of the Light have been kept.

“My hope is that we can index the last 15 years worth of La Jolla newspapers in order to more easily find information,” said volunteer archivist Hayase.

Mishler said the public is not allowed into the Carriage House’s newspaper archives but they do have access to it.

“You request the newspapers — we bring them up to you,” he said.

Historical society archivists face constraints similar to the publications they’re preserving.

“We have very limited space,” noted Mishler, adding that’s leading toward utilizing electronic copies. “There are vendors who will copy your newspapers and put them on line,” he said. “That’s a better way to preserve and make them available.”

Mishler said it’s surprising just how much — and how little — things have changed in La Jolla reading its newspapers over time.

“Looking back for something in the 1920s, I found someone writing about people shooting seals, the fisherman saying ‘They’re eating our catch,’ and people writing letters to the editor saying, ‘Stop shooting the seals — they’re a great tourist attraction,” he said.

Another newspaper story Mishler ran across in 1944 refers to the “Western tradition of eating your salad first catching on all over the United States.”

Templer noted the roots of the library’s history room can be traced to Pat Schaelchlin’s book on La Jolla history and her historical collection, which has since been expanded to include books and reference materials on San Diego, San Diego County, Southern California and the state as a whole.

“We also have a complete collection of Blue Books (phone directories) as well as photocopies of La Jolla phone directories back as far as 1926,” Templer said.

The La Jolla Library History Room is open Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 4 p.m.

La Jolla Historical Society is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 7846 Eads Ave. and can be reached at (858) 459-5335. Go to