MS 92 Lewis Riley Papers

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
Riley, Lewis S.
Lewis Riley Papers
MS 92
Date [inclusive]
0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
Collection materials are in English and Spanish.
The collection contains business papers of the lawyer Lewis Riley while practicing in Colorado and San Diego, California.

Preferred Citation

Lewis Riley Papers, MS 92, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

Lewis S. Riley practiced law in Antonito, Colorado and San Diego, California in the late 1800s and early 1900s, respectively. He married Louise J. (maiden name unknown) and had a son, Joyce. In the late 1800s, Riley was the County Attorney in Antonito, Colorado, a small town in Conejos County. The first listing for Lewis Riley in the San Diego City Directory appears in 1905. Riley’s occupation is listed as an attorney, working in firms including Holcomb, Shaw & Riley; Holcomb, Riley, & Hubbell; Riley & Hubbell; and Riley & Heskett. His practice of law included estates, divorce, and property damage. In 1922, the Laurel Building Company was formed by George Gans and his wife, Amalia, along with their attorney, Riley. The Company is noted for constructing homes in North Park during the 1920s. It appears that Riley suffered from poor health in the early 1920s, as mentioned in correspondence to his clients and his niece, Cora Elam, but it is not known when he died. The last listing of Lewis S. Riley occurs in the 1923 San Diego City Directory.

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Scope and Content

The collection pertains to Riley’s business endeavors between 1899 and 1922, though the bulk of the collection covers 1918 to 1922. The business correspondence covers topics related to Riley’s cases, including general real estate matters, divorce cases, client claims, and estate administration. Some miscellaneous business correspondence is also present, in which Riley consults with his clients on more minor topics. Financial paperwork includes correspondence from First National Bank, accounting notes, and records of client payment. Of particular interest is a set of more personal letters between Riley and Joyce’s employer, W.J. Finkbohner of Republic Motor Sales Co. The letters discuss both Joyce’s acrimonious divorce and financial trouble, and a matter of $150 that Joyce owed to Finkbohner.

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Items in the collection are arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection March 22, 2012

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Lauren Rasmussen on March 22, 2012.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • First National Bank of San Diego.
  • Riley & Heskett.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Antonito (Colo.)
  • Conejos County (Colo.)
  • Lemon Grove (Calif.)
  • San Diego (Calif.)
  • Stockton (Calif.)
  • Ventura (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Braiden, John C.
  • Braly, Robert L.
  • Carlisle, Amelia
  • Elam, Cora
  • Finkbohner, W. J.
  • Finley, J. E.
  • Griffith, C. O.
  • Lobato, Jesus M.
  • Lobato, Manuelita
  • Macomber, Carrie R.
  • Richardson, Mary E.
  • Riley, Joyce
  • Riley, Lewis S.
  • Riley, Louise J.


  • Estate planning
  • Estates (Law)
  • Lawyers
  • Mortgages
  • Practice of law
  • Real property

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Collection Inventory

Business correspondence: real estate, 1917 March 11–1922 July 8 and undated


Correspondence related to mortgages, property sales, purchases, and sales inquiries.

Business correspondence: divorce cases, 1921 August 27–1922 July 22 1:2
Business correspondence: court cases, 1921 May 9–1922 March 9 1:3
Business correspondence: insurance policies, 1920 April 6–1922 May 17 1:4
Business correspondence: claims and collections, 1920 July 12–1922 July 22 1:5
Business correspondence: miscellanea, 1918 October 10–1922 July 14


Correspondence from Riley’s niece, Cora, and her husband requesting legal advice.

Correspondence with Robert Braly, Riley’s client who was serving time in San Quentin Prison.

Lobato Estate (some in Spanish), 1899 September 22-December 27 1:7
Macomber Estate, 1917 December 18–1921 December 29 1:8
Braiden Estate, 1922 April 5-13 1:9
Richardson Estate, 1920 April 28–1921 August 5 1:10
Misner Estate, 1920 November 3–1921 April 14 1:11
Carlisle Estate, 1921 April 29–May 4 1:12
Miscellaneous estates, 1921 November 12–1922 April 5 1:13
Finances, 1918 October 30–1922 February 1 1:14
Joyce Riley correspondence, 1920 January 26–1921 October 14 1:15
Miscellanea, 1899 November 8–1920 August 21


Post Office delivery receipts

Recommendation letter

Order of the Elks bulletin

Thank you note to Dr. Gillaspia


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