John Marshall High School first opened its doors on January 26, 1931, with approximately twelve hundred students and forty-eight teachers. Joseph Sniffen, for whom the auditorium was named, served as the first Principal, while Hugh Boyd and Geraldine Keith acted as Marshall's first Vice-Principals. The football field was named in honor of Mr. Boyd, while the library was named for Mrs. Keith.
The school was named after John Marshall, who served as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835. Known as the Great Chief Justice, John Marshall was the principal architect of the American system of constitutional law. His interpretations of laws are still used as examples today.
During the first semester of the school's existence, the faculty and students cooperatively selected the school motto, seal, and colors. The school motto, "Veritas Vincit / Truth Conquers", was an easy choice since this was a favorite sentiment of John Marshall. The school seal shows an open Book of Learning, behind which is projected the scales of justice with "Veritas Vincit" emblazoned on the bar. Two shades of blue became the official colors of John Marshall High School; the moonlight blue of midnight and the sunlight blue of dawn. Since the color blue is symbolic of truth, the choice of colors harmonized with the school's motto. John Montapert and Henry Suykida, two Marshall students who graduated in the Winter Class of 1939, composed the Alma Mater, the official school song.
Johnny Barrister is the school's mascot. Since John Marshall was in the legal profession and served as a jurist it was fitting that Marshall's students be called "Barristers". Our service organization is the Continentals. A magnificent statue of John Marshall stands in the center of the Senior Court.
Following the major 1971 earthquake, some of Marshall's buildings were condemned. The cafeteria was torn down but the Los Feliz community actively campaigned to save the unique Collegiate Gothic Main Building. In 1975, this building was closed for structural strengthening and all classes moved to temporary bungalows. In September of 1981 the refurbished Main Building was opened. A new building now houses the library, cafeteria, and science classrooms.
Today, Marshall is a comprehensive high school with an enrollment of approximately 2700 students and a teaching staff of 106. Marshall is justly proud of its traditions, alumni, and academic excellence.