The Journal of San Diego History
Spring 1982, Volume 28, Number 2
Thomas L. Scharf, Managing Editor
SPECIAL ISSUE: San Diego High School, 1882-1982

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Russ School

Page 95. Russ School

Russ School

Page 97. Russ School, c. 1900

Russ School building

Page 98. This panoramic scene was photographed in the early 1880s by pioneer San Diego photographer Herbert Fitch and shows the Russ School building on a bleak hilltop in the upper right.

Students and  teachers pose in front of the school about 1885

Page 98. Students and teachers pose in front of the school about 1885.

Russ School being moved

Page 99. Little water at the site may account for the lack of landscaping. In this dramatic view the old Russ School is shown being moved to make way for the new San Diego High School which was constructed in 1906.

Joseph Russ

Page 100. Joseph Russ, “The Father of San Diego High School,” c. 1882. In 1881 Russ, a lumber merchant from northern California, made a donation of over $5000 in materials to help San Diego build a new grammar school. It was named Russ School in his honor.

Kate Sessions

Page 101. In January 1884, Miss Kate Sessions replaced Mr. J.A. Rice as principal of Russ School. She also served as assistant principal and a teacher. Sessions later resigned her teaching duties entirely and became world renowned in the field of horticulture.

San Diego High School's  faculty in 1899

Page 102. This unique photograph is a composite of portraits of San Diego High School’s faculty in 1899. Historically it is the first portrait of the faculty to appear in print. It was published in the first issue of the Russ in 1899 – the “Commencement Number.”

Johnny Moffett

Page 103. Johnny Moffett, San Diego High School’s beloved janitor. He worked at the school from sometime in the early 1890s to at least 1907. Moffett was a friend, confidant and chaperon for the students. His picture appears in almost every class graduation portrait during this period.

Russ School Dramatic Club in 1904

Page 104. The cast of “As You Like It,” a Shakespearean play produced by the Russ School Dramatic Club in 1904. For several years after the turn of the century, all of the club’s endeavors were staged in downtown San Diego theaters.

San Diego High School Orchestra, 1903

Page 104. Members of the San Diego High School Orchestra, 1903, with their conductor Mr. B.O. Lacey (bottom row, left).

Scene from the play Going Some

Page 105. Scene from the San Diego High School Dramatic Club’s production of the play “Going Some.” One of the cast would go on to become a popular comedian in the early days of motion pictures. His name was Harold Lloyd.

New San Diego High School

Page 106. A commanding view of the “New San Diego High School” is seen not long after its dedication on April 13, 1907. The cupola of the old Russ School, still standing, can be seen protruding behind the new structure.

aerial photograph of San Diego High School in 1926

Page 106. The spectacular aerial photograph of San Diego High School was taken in 1926. Note the newly completed Russ Auditorium on the right of the main building.

Within  These Ivy-covered Walls Were Golden Hours Spent

Page 107. “Within These Ivy-covered Walls Were Golden Hours Spent” reads the caption for the photo above which appeared in a 1927 school annual.

Archery Club

Page 108. Members of the 1927 school Archery Club assume a unique pose with their equipment for the photographer in front of the vine-covered “Grey Castle.”

1921 Girls' Glee Club

Page 109. The 1921 Girls’ Glee Club together with Nino Marcelli, San Diego High School’s outstanding orchestra conductor. Under his direction the school’s orchestra became known as one of the best in the country.

ROTC Officers Club

Page 109. The staunch-looking young men were a part of the ROTC Officers Club at the high school in 1921. ROTC at the school was organized in 1919 by Army Captain Walter Frantz and is still active at this time.

Uncle Shoot Them Up

Page 110. Some of the 1917 nearly nudes who were left after Uncle Shoot Them Up,” reads the caption for the autographed photograph, copied from the 1917 Russ Annual.

Football in the old style

Page 110. Football in the old style — little padding and hard ground are evident in the 1913 photo at the left which shows San Diego High School taking on Pomona College on a rocky playing field.

San Diego High football team of 1908

Page 111. The handsome-looking San Diego High football team of 1908, in their neat turtleneck jerseys, posing with coach and mascot, were probably the pride and joy of the school.

Page 112. Opposite is another action shot of the 1913 game between San Diego High and Pomona College. The Grey Castle is visible in the distance.

Page 112. The Basketball Squad in 1921 was under the guidance of coach A.E. Shaver. According to the school annual for that year “. . . to show the jazz of the squad, they were given blue and white striped uniforms which made them known over the southland as Shaver’s barber poles.”

1909 Girls'Basketball Team

Page 114. Girls’ athletics at San Diego High School: members of the 1909 Basketball Team.

gym fashions for 1927 sports

Page 114. The latest gym fashions for 1927 sports

Tennis Club members of 1926

Page 114. Tennis Club members of 1926.

Girls' 1940 Softball Team

Page 115. The gym uniforms worn by the girls’ 1940 Softball Team are a far cry from those of 1927.

Page 116. Dr. John Aseltine’s tenure as principal of San Diego High (1927-1954) extended over a quarter century.

Page 117. The young Filipino students (opposite, c. 1903) were most likely the school’s first exchange students.

Members of the "Seinen-Kai"

Page 117. Members of the “Seinen-Kai” club for Japanese students gathered in front of Russ Auditorium for their 1938 portrait.

Mrs. Lauber's cooking class

Page 118. Mrs. Lauber’s cooking class for 1938 – apparently all male.

1956 classroom

Page 118. The 1956 classroom shows the San Diego High School choir rehearsing under the direction of Mr. E. Harrison Maxwell. The school’s outstanding vocal and musical groups have been popular over the years and have performed at many San Diego social and civic functions.

Grammar-Grade Room at the old Russ School

Page 119. A “Grammar-Grade Room” photographed at the old Russ School sometime in the late 1880s or early 1890s is in marked contrast to later classroom scenes.

Page 120. This delightful photograph captured the graduating class of 1901 attired in the latest turn-of-the-century fashions. The gentleman seated on the left is the school’s janitor, the beloved Johnny Moffett.

Page 121. The first class to graduate from the old Russ Grammar School in 1883. Their class motto was “Not how much but how well.”

Page 121. Although their graduation exercises took place in the somewhat stark surroundings of Balboa Stadium, there is little doubt that the ceremony for the class of 1950 (right) was a memorable occasion.

Page 123. Balboa Stadium under construction in 1914. The photograph depicts the stadium being built with a steam shovel and mules. The facility was opened on May 31, 1915, during the Panama-California Exposition and thereafter was utilized by San Diego High School for athletic training and events.

Page 123. Balboa Stadium on opening day — shows high school students performing to an overflow audience.

Page 124. The splendid photograph of San Diego High School Russ Auditorium was taken about 1939. Not only was it used by the school but also by the community for major indoor cultural events.

Page 124. An “Assembly in the Auditorium,” an event well remembered by all San Diego High School alumni.

Page 125. The contemporary view is of the new high school and its dedication in 1976.