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Guide to the Charles E. Arnold Collection MS 160
MS 160  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Comments
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

  • Title: Charles E. Arnold Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 160
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 1.75 Linear feet (4 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1869-1982
    Abstract: The collection contains personal and business papers of Charles E. Arnold, a prominent San Diego realtor and real estate developer.
    creator: Arnold, Charles E. (Charles Elmo)

    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    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials.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 14, 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.

    Preferred Citation

    Charles E. Arnold Collection, MS 160, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    Charles Elmo Arnold was born in San Francisco on June 11, 1880 to Gilbert C. Arnold and Susan J. (née McConaughy). In October 1880, the family moved to San Diego, where Gilbert joined the prospering real estate firm founded in 1869 by his brother, Cyrus, and his father, Philander. Arnold’s first job was as a paper boy for the San Diego Union newspaper. Between 1898 and 1900, Arnold served in the U.S. National Guard. In 1907, after a number of jobs at local banks, he joined the family business where his father was now the sole proprietor.
    During World War I, Arnold served in the U.S. Navy as a supply and disbursement officer. Gilbert died in 1920, at which time Arnold inherited the realty company and changed the firm’s name from G.C. Arnold & Son back to Arnold Realty Co. In 1921, he became a charter member of the San Diego Realty Board. Arnold began to push for legislation to professionalize the real estate industry in 1922. Through his efforts, the initiative became law on April 27, 1923, requiring all real estate brokers pass a qualification exam in order to obtain a license to practice. Arnold became president of the San Diego Realty Board in 1930.
    He sold Arnold Realty Co. in 1943 to William McCreary, a banker from Kansas, but continued to consult as a real estate advisor and professional appraiser. He served as foreman for the San Diego Grand Jury in 1932 and again in 1946, and as foreman for the Federal Grand Jury in 1957. He also served as the coxswain of the San Diego Rowing Club and participated in the San Diego Historical Society, both organizations where he was an honorary life member. Arnold was heavily involved in the compilation of “The History of the San Diego Realty Board” and would go on to publish a book entitled The Birth of a Profession that provided an in depth overview of the history of the real estate business. Never married, he died on October 30, 1972 at age 92.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Some of the deeds are brittle and fragile. (March 14, 2012)

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains personal and business papers of Charles Arnold. Personal papers include correspondence, articles and speeches written by Arnold, as well as newspaper clippings related to local real estate development and activities of Arnold’s alma mater. Arnold Realty Co. records include administrative correspondence and property records, including estate deeds for Arnold’s clients. The deeds include mortgage papers, estate wills, and property leases. San Diego Realty Board records contain the constitution and by-laws, annual reports, Board correspondence, and membership lists. There are also property maps, clippings about San Diego oil leases, and an assortment of materials about the development of the Hillcrest community. Legislative papers, such as assembly bills and drafts, related to the professionalization of the real estate industry are also present, as well as information on two professional real estate associations: California Real Estate Association and National Association of Real Estate Boards. Class lists for the original licensing courses and exams are included. Additionally the collection contains drafts and correspondence related to the publication Arnold’s book, "The Birth of a Profession."


    The collection is arranged into five series:
    Series I: Personal Papers
    Series II: Arnold Realty Co.
    Series III: San Diego Realty Board
    Series IV: Real Estate Legislation, Associations, and Education
    Series V: “The Birth of a Profession” (publication)
    Items within each series are arranged by subject. Itemized database of deeds in Series II (Box 1 folder 8 thru Box 2 folder 16) can be accessed at the San Diego History Center Library.


    Material added to collection from Document Files Collection - Arnold, Jeffrey & Mouser Real Estate file.
    Deeds in Series II: These retain original order. For preservation purposes deeds were removed from original housing. Letters from original dividers added to file name in corresponding folders in container list. Itemized database of deeds can be accessed at the San Diego History Center Library.
    The San Diego Realty Board is also called the San Diego Real Estate Board and the San Diego Board of Realtors on occasion throughout the collection.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Accession number 820122.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Akin, William H.
    Arnold Realty Co..
    Arnold, Charles E. (Charles Elmo)
    Arnold, Jeffery & Mouser.
    California Real Estate Association.
    California. Real Estate Commission.
    G. C. Arnold & Son.
    Hall, Michael Francis
    National Association of Real Estate Boards.
    Real Estate Association of San Diego.
    Real Estate Exchange of San Diego.
    San Diego Realty Board.
    Administration of estates
    Coronado (Calif.)
    Hillcrest (San Diego, Calif.)
    Real estate agents
    Real estate boards
    Real property
    San Diego (Calif.)