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Lowell Davies Papers, 1911-1988 | Special Collections & University Archives

By James Kenneth White and Bill Payne

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Collection Overview

Title: Lowell Davies Papers, 1911-1988Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Davies, Lowell (1895-1983)

Extent: 7.5 Linear Feet

Subjects: Cassius Carter Centre Stage (San Diego, Calif.), Davies, Lowell, 1895-1983, Noel, Craig, Old Globe Theatre (San Diego, Calif.), Theaters--California--San Diego, Theaters--California--San Diego--History

Forms of Material: Personal Papers, Photographs

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Lowell Davies Papers consist of correspondence, organizational documents, architectural records, financial records, meeting minutes, committee reports, programs, publications, newspaper and magazine clippings, publicity announcement, and photographs. The collection measures 7.5 linear feet and spans the period from 1911 to 1988. The materials in this collection pertain to the production and physical history of the San Diego Old Globe Theatre (San Diego Community Theatre), including Falstaff Tavern (Cassius Carter Center Stage).

Series I: Administrative (1937-1987 and not dated) contains Old Globe Theatre building renovation and organizational records, bills and receipts, board nomination and committee lists, contracts, Lowell Davies’s personal records, proposals, pamphlets regarding Summer Theatre workshop courses at San Diego State College, and records of the Shakespearean Scholarship Fund. The building renovation records consist of architectural plans documenting renovations to the Old Globe Theatre and are stored separately in a flat file drawer. The personal records include the text of a letter written by attorney and Shakespearean scholar Cassius Carter to the editor of the San Diego Sun, dated 1905; in the letter Carter laments low local theatre attendance at a performance he had attended. Carter’s son Armistead Carter sent the text to Lowell Davies in 1968, who responded with a brief note. Additionally, these records include a letter to the editor of the San Diego Union, dated 1950, and related data sheet by a local resident who was advocating against the use of Balboa Park as a site for a 1953 exposition, and an undated article by A. Carl Messenger on how to build an audience for performing arts events.

Series II: Atlas Awards (1949-1970) contains financial reports, committee lists, agendas, program announcements, invitations, and award nominations all pertaining to the annual Atlas Awards presentation.

Series III: Correspondence (1942-1971 and not dated) consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence, and internal memoranda pertaining to the Old Globe Theatre. It also contains several items of Lowell Davies’s personal correspondence, along with handwritten and typewritten notes. Included in this series are several notes and letters from a variety of prominent San Diego personalities such as actor Dennis Hopper, former Mayor of San Diego and Governor of California Pete Wilson, actor and director Craig Noel, pioneer San Diego retailer George A. Scott, major contributor to the Old Globe Armistead B. Carter, and San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper columnist and editor Neil Morgan.

Series IV: Minutes (1945-1988) contains minutes of the meetings of the Old Globe Boards of Directors, Executive Committees, Children’s Summer Theatre Advisory Board, Civic Committee, Globe Guilders, National Shakespeare Festival Committees, and other Old Globe-related organizations.

Series V: Productions ([1935]-1971 and not dated) contains play programs from the Cassius Carter Centre Stage, Falstaff Tavern, and Old Globe Theatres. Duplicates of selected programs were retained because they include annotations that were presumably written by Lowell Davies. The series also contains fashion show programs sponsored by the Globe Guilders, and production material and literature from other San Diego theatres.

Series VI: Publications and other writings (1945-1980 and not dated) contains various Old Globe Theatre newsletters such as The Busker Curtain Call, Globaloney, The Globe Greeter, and Stage Struck, as well as Shakespeare Festival publications. It contains other regional, national, and international theatre publications, such as San Diego State Theatre Newsletter, On Stage Magazine, American Shakespeare Festival Theatre and Academy, and Danish Foreign Office Journal.

Series VII: Publicity (1948-1988 and not dated) consists of magazine and newspaper articles pertaining to the Old Globe Theatre; Old Globe membership and contributors’ lists; scripts; and flyers, pamphlets, and other forms of solicitation.

Series VIII: Reports (1948-1977 and not dated) contains Old Globe Theatre finance and treasury reports, as well as reports from the Art Center in La Jolla.

Series IX: Photographs (1911-1957 and not dated) contains black and white photographs of Lowell Davies and one photograph of actor and director N. H. Holland.

Biographical Note

Robert Lowell Davies (known as Lowell Davies) was born in 1895 in New Almaden, California (near San Jose). Young Davies, the son of a miner, first attended elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse near Mariposa, but his father’s continual search for the mother lode kept the family on the move from one Sierra Nevada mountain town to another.

As a child, Davies enjoyed theatre and once stated that he would sometimes play “hooky” from classes on Friday afternoons so that he could go see a play. Times were lean for Davies’s family, and at the age of 13 he had to quit school in order to help support himself. He worked a number of odd jobs in the northern California area during this period, such as running errands for a pharmaceutical company and working in a curio shop. He learned how to type and to take shorthand. Although Davies never graduated, he began high school in San Francisco.

Davies eventually joined the Field Artillery branch of the U.S. Army in 1917, and was stationed at Fort Rosecrans in San Diego until his discharge in 1920. Soon after leaving the Army, he found work as the secretary to newspaper magnate, E.W. Scripps. Davies would later give credit to Scripps for instilling in him the desire and motivation to earn a college degree.

Getting into college, however, was not an easy task for Davies as he had not graduated from high school. Davies eventually did make-up those deficiencies earning all A’s, and graduating Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, Davies entered Boalt Hall School of Law. He passed the bar examination in 1927 and returned to San Diego where he began practicing law as the Chula Vista City Attorney (San Diego County). On October 28, 1929 he married Ethelind Thompson. They later had four children.

Davies worked for the city until the late 1930s when he began his private law practice, but he continued to hold onto his love of theatre. He once commented that he would often take the bus to see a show put on by an amateur troupe—known as The Barn Players—at the original Old Globe Theatre. In fact it was a chance encounter at the theatre one day that inspired Davies’s long-time professional association with the organization. In 1937 one of the actors, who knew of Davies’s law practice, asked him if he would come to the group’s Board meetings and offer them sorely needed legal advice. Davies signed on as an advisor until he was elected to the Board in 1939 and then to the presidency in 1945.

During his involvement with the Old Globe Theatre, Davies was credited with organizing the Globe 400, a group of patrons whose donations provided a scholarship fund to assist promising amateur actors. He also established the annual Old Globe’s Summer Shakespeare Festival. During the summer of 1949, Davies arranged for the world-renowned Shakespearean director, B. Iden Payne, to direct plays at the Old Globe. This was the beginning of a collaboration that lasted for many years.

In 1960, Davies was appointed by President Eisenhower to his Advisory Committee on the Arts for the National Cultural Center, later named the Kennedy Center, in Washington, D.C. President Kennedy later re-appointed Davies to this Committee. In 1967, Davies was appointed, by then Governor Ronald Reagan, to the California Arts Commission where he served for eight years—one as the commission’s chairman. He was a former director of the County Farm Bureau, co-founder of the Combined Arts and Education Council of San Diego County, former director of the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce, and a charter member of the American Legion Post #6.

Davies retired from the Old Globe’s Board of Directors in 1976 and was elected to the newly created position of Chairman of the Board. On April 8, 1979, he married Darlene Gould. In January 1983, he was named Honorary Life Chairman. Lowell Davies passed away three months later on April 29, at the age of 87. He had given 43 years of service to the Old Globe Theatre. In 1985, the outdoor Festival Stage, which had been destroyed by arson fire in 1984, was rebuilt and renamed the Lowell Davies Festival Stage. One of three venues within the theatre complex, the Festival Stage operates only during the Summer Shakespeare Festival season.

Subject/Index Terms

Cassius Carter Centre Stage (San Diego, Calif.)
Davies, Lowell, 1895-1983
Noel, Craig
Old Globe Theatre (San Diego, Calif.)
Theaters--California--San Diego
Theaters--California--San Diego--History

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives

Accruals: 1987

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission 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 Source: Darlene Gould Davies

Related Materials:

Old Globe Theatre Photograph Collection

Darlene Gould Davies Papers

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Lowell Davies Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Administrative Files, 1937-1987],
[Series 2: Atlas Awards, 1949-1970],
[Series 3: Correspondence, 1942-1971],
[Series 4: Minutes, 1945-1988],
[Series 5: Production Files, 1935-1971],
[Series 6: Publications, 1945-1980],
[Series 7: Publicity Files, 1948-1988],
[Series 8: Reports, 1948-1977],
[Series 9: Photographs, 1911-1957],
[All]

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1937-1987Add to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Bills and receipts, 1947-1960Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Board of Directors nominatinos, committee lists and appointments, 1950-1987Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Building renovation records [Oversized records filed in Flat File 2, Drawer 1], 1961-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Contracts and permits, 1947-1964Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Municipal codes pertinent to Old Globe Theatre operations, 1953-1954Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Organizational records - articles of incorporation and amendments - La Jolla - San Diego County Theatre and Arts FoundationAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Organizational records - articles of incorporation and amendments - Old Globe Theatre, 1937-1959Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Organizational records - Bylaws and amendments - Globe GuildersAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Organizational records - Bylaws and amendments - Old Globe Theatre (San Diego Community Theatre, scattered), 1937-1986Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Organizational records - Bylaws and amendments - Junior Theatre Wing, 1951Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Organizational records - Historical background, circa 1940s, 1961Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Organizational records - Organizational chart and list of staff responsibilitiesAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Personal records - Advocacy letters and articles, 1950, 1968Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Personal records - Award certificate, 1957Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Personal records - Record of hours worked, 1949-1950, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Proposals - American Music and Arts Festival, 1954Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Proposals - Public relations, 1958Add to your cart.
Folder 18: San Diego State College Summer Theatre workshop courses, 1949-1951Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Shakespearean Scholarship Fund recordsAdd to your cart.
Series 2: Atlas Awards, 1949-1970Add to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Agendas, 1950-1964Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Award nominations, 1949-1969Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Financial report, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Nominating Committee rosters and lists, 1951-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Program announcements, 1958-1970Add to your cart.
Series 3: Correspondence, 1942-1971Add to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Incoming, 1942-1946Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Incoming, 1947-1948Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Incoming, 1949-1951Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Incoming, 1952-1953Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Incoming, 1954-1955Add to your cart.
Folder 30: Incoming, 1956-1957Add to your cart.
Folder 31: Incoming, 1958-1959Add to your cart.
Folder 32: Incoming, 1960-1961Add to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Incoming, 1962Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Incoming, 1962Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Incoming, 1963-1967Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Incoming, 1968-1971Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Internal memoranda, 1949-1961Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Notes, handwritten and typewrittenAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Outgoing, 1945-1948Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Outgoing, 1949-1951Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Outgoing, 1952-1953Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Outgoing, 1954-1955Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Outgoing, 1956-1957Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Outgoing, 1958-1959Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Outgoing, 1960-1962Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Outgoing, 1963-1967Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Outgoing, 1968-1971Add to your cart.
Series 4: Minutes, 1945-1988Add to your cart.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Annual meeting of members, 1960-1967Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Board of Directors (Old Globe), 1949-1954Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Board of Directors (Old Globe), 1955-1957Add to your cart.
Box 3Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Board of Directors (Old Globe), 1958Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Board of Directors (Old Globe), 1959-1963Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Board of Directors (Old Globe), 1964-1967Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Board of Directors (Old Globe), 1968Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Board of Directors (Old Globe), 1986Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Board of Directors (Old Globe), 1987-1988Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Children's Summer Theatre Advisory Board, 1945Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Civic Committee, 1953Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Executive Committee, 1956-1957Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Executive Committee, 1958-1959Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Executive Committee, 1960-1961Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Executive Committee, 1962-1963Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Executive Committee, 1964-1965Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Executive Committee, 1966-1967Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Executive Committee, 1968-1969Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Executive Committee, 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Executive Committee, 1971Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Executive Committee, 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Executive Committee, 1973Add to your cart.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Executive Committee, 1974Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Executive Committee, 1975Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Executive Committee, 1976Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Executive Committee, 1986-1988Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Globe Guilders, 1960-1961Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Globe Guilders, 1962-1963Add to your cart.
Folder 7: National Shakespeare Festival Committee, 1953-1954, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Other Old Globe-related meetings, 1954-1956Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Old Globe Theatre - Art Center in La Jolla Joint Committee, 1961-1962Add to your cart.
Series 5: Production Files, 1935-1971Add to your cart.
Box 4Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Cassius Carter Centre Stage play programs, 1969-1971Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Falstaff Tavern play programs, 1964-1967Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Globe Guilders fashion productions, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Old Globe Theatre - Cast and character lists, 1955, n.d.Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Old Globe Theatre - Guest lists, 1955Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Old Globe Theatre - Play programs, 1935-1952Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Old Globe Theatre - Play programs, 1953-1955Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Old Globe Theatre - Play programs, 1956-1959Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Old Globe Theatre - Play programs, 1960-1961Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Old Globe Theatre - Play programs, 1962-1963Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Old Globe Theatre - Play programs, 1964-1965Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Old Globe Theatre - Play programs, 1966-1970Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Theatre play selections and dates, 1948-1956Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Other San Diego theatre production material, 1950, 1958, 1962Add to your cart.
Series 6: Publications, 1945-1980Add to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Old Globe newsletters - The Busker, 1950-1951Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Old Globe newsletters - Curtain Call, 1948Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Old Globe newsletters - Globaloney, 1945-1946Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Old Globe newsletters - The Globe Greeter, 1953-1958Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Old Globe newsletters - Guilder Gazette, 1961-1964Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Old Globe newsletters - Stage Struck, 1965Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Old Globe Theatre National Shakespeare Festival, 1964-1968, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Old Globe Theatre National Shakespeare Festival, 1969-1970, 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 9: The American Shakespeare Festival: The Birth of a Theatre (John Houseman and Jack Landau), 1959Add to your cart.
Folder 10: American Shakespeare Festival Theatre and Academy Repertory Season, 1962Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Danish Foreign Office Journal, 1953Add to your cart.
Folder 12: The Fine Arts Society of San DiegoAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Newsletter, The Oregon Shakespearean Festival, 1956-1964Add to your cart.
Folder 14: On Stage Magazine, 1970-1971Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Point, 1950-1954Add to your cart.
Folder 16: The Rotator, 1961Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Shakespeare (Oregon Shakespearean Festival), 1952, 1959, 1960Add to your cart.
Folder 18: San Diego State Theatre Newsletter, 1961-1964Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Stanford Today, 1957Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Reviews and synopses of playsAdd to your cart.
Series 7: Publicity Files, 1948-1988Add to your cart.
Box 5Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Magazine articles, 1950-1986Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Membership and contributors lists, 1948, n.d.Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Newspaper articles, 1950-1988Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Newspaper articles, 1950-1988Add to your cart.
Folder 5: ScriptsAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Solicitations and flyers, 1949-1970, n.d.Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Solicitations and flyers, 1949-1970, n.d.Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Solicitations and flyers, 1949-1970, n.d.Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Solicitations and flyers, 1949-1970, n.d.Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Solicitations and flyers, 1949-1970, n.d.Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Solicitations and flyers, 1949-1970, n.d.Add to your cart.
Series 8: Reports, 1948-1977Add to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Art Center in La Jolla, 1960-1961Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Box office and finance, 1948-1959Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Box office and finance, 1960-1963Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Box office and finance, 1964-1965Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Box office and finance, 1968-1969Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Box office and finance, 1970-1971Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Box office and finance, 1972Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Box office and finance, 1973-1974Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Box office and finance, 1975-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Box office and finance, 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Box office and finance, N.D.Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Box office and finance - Interior Committee, Summer Festival Organization, n.d.Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Box office and finance - Treasurer, 1946Add to your cart.
Series 9: Photographs, 1911-1957Add to your cart.
Box 6Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Photographs, 1911-1957Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Administrative Files, 1937-1987],
[Series 2: Atlas Awards, 1949-1970],
[Series 3: Correspondence, 1942-1971],
[Series 4: Minutes, 1945-1988],
[Series 5: Production Files, 1935-1971],
[Series 6: Publications, 1945-1980],
[Series 7: Publicity Files, 1948-1988],
[Series 8: Reports, 1948-1977],
[Series 9: Photographs, 1911-1957],
[All]


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