Louis H. and Emma (nee Loewy) Blumenthal played central roles in Jewish communal life in San Francisco during the middle of the twentieth century. Louis Blumenthal (1893-1959) served as executive director of the YMHA from 1924 until 1933 and then as co-founder (with Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel) and executive director of San Francisco's Jewish Community Center from 1933 until his death in 1959. Emma (Loewy) Blumenthal spent 39 years as associate director of the JCC. Before coming to San Francisco in 1924, Louis was executive director of the Portland, Oregon Jewish Center. Louis Blumenthal was also active in the national Jewish Community Center movement and a nationally recognized expert on the administration of community centers. He was the author of many articles and books relating to center work, including Group Work in Camping (1937), Administration of Group Work (1948), and How to Work with Your Board and Committees (1954). Louis also served as an instructor in Group Work at the University of California, Berkeley and on many state and national committees dealing with issues relating to youth, camping, child health, and social work.
The collection consists of Louis Blumenthal's diaries from 1911 through 1922 and from 1944; documents (including some correspondence) relating to the founding and early years of the San Francisco Jewish Community Center; files on some of Louis Blumenthal's publications; manuscript drafts of books; materials relating to Camp Tiyatah, including a camp manual from 1959 and minutes from camp staff meetings in 1962 (both of which are particularly interesting for their daily log of camp activities, observers' notes, and reflections on the camp experience); Louis Blumenthal's speeches and articles on social work, group work, and camping; a file of Emma Blumenthal's correspondence; and photographs of the Blumenthals at home and at work (including at camp).