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San Diego Chamber of Commerce Records, 1826-1980Add to your cart. | Special Collections & University Archives

Title: San Diego Chamber of Commerce Records, 1826-1980Add to your cart.
ID: MS-0040
Extent: 40.66 Linear Feet
Predominant Dates: 1907-1980
expand icon Historical Note

Alonzo Horton established the San Diego Chamber of Commerce on 20 January, 1870, making it the second chamber of commerce on the west coast.  Initially, the Chamber sought to promote San Diego as a place to live; it even created the first City Directory in 1874. In order to endorse San Diego, it advocated events such as the 1915 World Exhibition in Balboa Park.  It also encouraged the establishment of military bases in San Diego.  In 1917, during World War I, the city approved the creation of a Marine base and Naval Hospital.  Later, in 1919, the United States Navy made San Diego the home base of its Pacific Fleet.  Eventually Point Loma became the site of the Naval Training Center, and Miramar gained prestige as a naval air station.  In 1942, the Navy acquired land that would later become Camp Pendleton.  Hence, San Diego had firmly established itself as a major military center, which increased the overall prosperity of the county.

In 1944, the Navy began construction on an aqueduct that would bring water from the Colorado River to San Diego.  Two years later, the city completed the aqueduct with the use of bonds, which the Chamber helped to attain.  During this time, the Chamber also assisted with the development of Mission Bay Park, which officially opened in 1949. Similarly, turning Old Town into a historic state park also proved to be a major undertaking for the Chamber.  In the early to mid 1970's the Chamber helped to organize Old Town's anniversary celebration and the creation of Old Town's Seeley Stables Hazard Museum. 

Besides water and land development, both the Chamber and the City hoped to establish San Diego as a center for research, industry, and education.  The Chamber launched its "Build Industrial Growth" (B.I.G.) campaign in 1956 in order to bring industry and research to San Diego.  Ads, paid for and created by the Chamber, promoted San Diego as a fast-growing industrial center.  It encouraged entrepreneurs to send it their ideas and inventions, then the Chamber helped to find a manufacturer to produce the new item.  Similarly, the Chamber set up seminars and conferences, and circulated informational material that dealt with creating and expanding new businesses.  It even helped small businesses obtain licenses.  The Chamber also heavily supported government legislation that promoted small business, industry, and education, and it encouraged the public to do the same.

Not everyone totally supported the B.I.G. campaign, however.  Many San Diego residents wished to keep San Diego small.  Los Angeles had grown rapidly, and not all San Diego residents wanted to mimic LA's explosive growth. After all, an increase in industry meant an increase in population, traffic, and cost of living.  The Chamber's B.I.G. campaign proved successful, however, and San Diego's industrial sector prospered.  In fact, by 1970, San Diego was California's second largest city with a city population of 696,769 and a county population of 1,357,854.  Although the Chamber's push for industry led to a greater demand for housing, roads, and infrastructure, the Chamber addressed these new demands and lobbied for more schools, housing, and freeways.

San Diego's schools and universities also experienced a rapid transformation.  Although San Diego State University had been established in 1898, the Chamber wanted to promote San Diego as a center of higher education, and therefore sought to promote the establishment of other universities in the San Diego area.  The University of San Diego was founded in 1954, and shortly thereafter, the Chamber began to endorse the purchase of land for a future University of California site.  Finally, in 1964 the University of California, San Diego was established.  The Chamber even sought to make San Diego the California State University system headquarters, but this task proved unsuccessful.  Community colleges and trade schools were also endorsed by the Chamber.  It set up essay contests at junior high schools on the topic of free enterprise, and it created Business-Education Day, in which teachers could be exposed to various types of businesses and careers.  The Chamber also set up a Career Development Services Committee to help San Diego residents find jobs.

Today, the Chamber remains a non-profit business advocacy group, and still plays a major role in public policy and economic development.  It consists of 8 divisions: the Economic and Research Bureau, the Government Division, the Educational Division, the Motion Picture and Television Bureau, the Small Business Development Center, the Membership Division, the Military Affairs Division, and the Communications and Marketing Division.

Author: Amanda Lanthorne
expand icon Arrangement

I. Committee Files, 1826-1980

      1.  Advertising Committee, 1958-1970

      2.  Advisory Committee, 1962-1977

      3.  Advisory Council of the Supplementary Education Center, 1966-1967         

      4.  Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee, 1947-1971

      5.  Ambassadors, 1963-1965

      6.  American Chamber of Commerce Researchers, 1962-1972

      7.  Atomic Energy Committee, 1965-1966

      8.  Baja California Committee, 1969-1970

      9.  Bay Crossing Committee, 1935-1963

      10. Build Industrial Growth (B.I.G.) Committee, 1956-1966

      11. Blue Ribbon Committee for Charter Review, 1965-1969

      12. Blue Ribbon Pilot Committee, 1962-1969

      13. Board of Port Commissioners, 1963-1969

      14. Business-Education Day Committee, 1953-1963

      15. California State Chamber of Commerce, 1946-1972

      16. Career Development Services Committee, 1966-1967

      17. Census Tract Committee, 1944-1974

      18. Chamber City Charter Review Task Force, 1969-1974

      19. City Industrial Development Committee, 1956-1962

      20. Community Health Committee, 1965-1972

      21. Comprehensive Health Planning Association, 1966-1974

      22. Construction Industries Committee, 1956-1964

      23. Department of Corrections, 1963-1969

      24. County Fair Committee, 1949-1962

      25. Department of Defense, 1955-1963

      26. Economic Research Bureau, 1959-1981

      27. Executive Committee of the Economic Research Bureau, 1953-1970

      28. Education Committee, 1928-1978

            a) General Committee Files, 1928-1978

            b) Citizens' Advisory Committee, 1968-1975

            c) Growth Needs Expansion Task Force Group, 1971-1973

            d) Higher Education Sub-Committee, 1965-1973

            e) Honors Employment Sub-Committee, 1956

            f) Public Schools Sub-Committee, 1960-1973

            g) School Contest Advisory Committee, 1958-1960

            h) Speakers' Sub-Committee, 1964-1971

            i) Special Education Sub-Committee, 1963-1969

            j) Tuition Task Group, 1974-1975

            k) University of California Sub-Committee, 1959-1973

      29. Education Contest Committee, 1962-1969

      30. Department of Employment, 1955-1972

      31. Department of Engineering, 1952-1962

            a) General Files, 1960-1961

            b) Engineering Personnel Survey Sub-Committee, 1952-1962

      32. Evaluation-Steering Committee, 1966-1972

      33. Export-Import Committee, 1946-1965

      34. Harbor Department, 1946-1969

      35. Health Sciences Council, 1966-1974

      36. Housing Committee, 1953-1965

      37. Industrial Department, 1924-1975

            a) General Committee Files, 1953-1971

            b) Industrial Advisory Committee, 1960

            c) Industrial and Business Development Committee, 1924-1975

            d) Industrial Coordinating Committee, 1959

            e) Industrial Development Committee, 1949-1975

            f) Industrial Development Corporation, 1949-1964

            g) Industrial Development Council, 1959-1960

            h) Industrial Development Steering Committee, 1940-1968

            i) Industrial and Economic Development Committee, 1953-1972

            j) Industrial Health Education Committee, 1959

            k) Industrial Information Committee, 1960-1961

            l) Industrial Promotion Committee, 1953-1961

            m) Industrial Relations Committee, 1956-1957

            n) Real Estate Sub-Committee, 1956-1957

      38. Information Department

      39. Labor and Statistics Department, 1947-1975

      40. Local Affairs Committee, 1956-1960

      41. Manufacturers Committee, 1962-1969

      42. Mayor's Host Committee, 1956-1966

      43. Mexico Committee, 1954-1978

      44. Narcotics Task Force Committee, 1968-1971

      45. Oceanographic Coordinating Committee, 1966-1970

      46. Oceanographic Development Committee, 1964-1972

      47. Old Town San Diego State Historic Park Advisory Committee, 1926-1976

      48. Parks and Recreational Facilities Committee, 1934-1974

            a) General Committee Files, 1947-1974

            b) Balboa Park Sub-Committee, 1956-1973

            c) Mission Bay Sub-Committee, 1934-1974

            d) Open Space and Planning Division, 1958-1974

            e) Plant-A-Tree Sub-Committee, 1957-1958

            f) San Diego Beautification Committee, 1954-1957

      49. Populations Projections Study Committee, 1957-1967

      50. Public and Governmental Affairs Division, 1972-1975

      51. Recreational Development Committee, 1955

      52. Research and Information Department, 1927-1979

      53. San Diego Chamber of Commerce, 1947-1970

      54. San Diego Citizens' Scholarship Foundation, 1963-1975

      55. San Diego City Council, 1955-1969

      56. School Contest Advising Committee, 1962-1975

      57. Tourist Committee, 1953-1954

      58. Tract Housing Committee, 1960-1965

      59. University of California Committee, 1910-1973

      60. United States International University (USIU) Committee, 1974-1975

      61. University Task Force Committee, 1959-1973

      62. Water Committee, 1924-1978

II. Subject Files, 1907-1980

expand icon Forms of Material (links to similar genres)
expand icon Administrative Information
Acquired: 1978. 1980, 1981, 1985
Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
Rights: The copyright interests in some of these materials have been transferred to or belong to San Diego State University. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections means that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. Permissions is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish.  Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.
Acquisition Note: San Diego Chamber of Commerce
Related Materials:

San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce Records

Coronado Chamber of Commerce Records

East San Diego Chamber of Commerce Records

Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce Records

Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America at the Kheel Center for Labor Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University. (restricted access)

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, San Diego Chamber of Commerce Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.
Collection Material Type: Official Records
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