Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Benbough Family Collection MS 243
MS 243  
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Biographical / Historical Notes
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement

  • Title: Benbough Family Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MS 243
    Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 2.75 Linear feet (4 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1899-1992
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English and German.
    Abstract: This collection contains Benbough family papers and records from the family mortuary business as well as scrapbooks and newspaper clippings pertaining to Percy Benbough’s civic career.
    creator: Benbough family

    Preferred Citation

    Benbough Family Collection, MS 243, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed by Samantha Mills on March 7, 2013.
    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.

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    The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials.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

    Biographical / Historical Notes

    Percy J. Benbough was born in Watford, England on April 14, 1884, to Isaac and Sarah Ann Benbough. His family moved to San Diego, CA in 1889. In 1905 he married Grace Legler, a native of Valley Falls, Kansas. She moved to San Diego with him, where they opened Benbough Mortuary. Benbough Funeral Parlors eventually grew to include mortuaries throughout Southern California and into Arizona. Percy soon transitioned into civil service, and served as a San Diego City Councilman and Fire Chief in 1913, as Chief of Police in 1931, and as Mayor from 1935 till his death on November 4, 1942. Grace remained active in the mortuary business and San Diego club life till her death on October 12, 1961.
    George Legler Benbough (commonly referred to as Legler Benbough) was born to Grace and Percy in 1909. He managed the family mortuary business after his father’s death. Legler was a lifelong bachelor and spent much of his time traveling and collecting antiques. He was also a well-known philanthropist. In 1985 he established the charitable Benbough Foundation, and in 1987 he sold the 22,000 acre Benbough family ranch in Rancho Santa Fe to fund its operations. Legler died in 1998.

    Scope and Content

    This collection contains Benbough family papers including Percy, Grace and Legler Benbough. Papers include correspondence, club certificates, school papers, and newspaper clippings regarding family recreational activities and philanthropy. There are several business records from the family mortuary business, Benbough Funeral Parlors. The collection also contains scrapbooks and newspaper clippings regarding Percy Benbough’s service as a City Councilman, Fire Chief, Police Chief, and Mayor of San Diego.


    Collection is arranged into two series:
    Series I: Benbough Family Papers
    Series II: Percy Benbough Civic Papers
    Items within each series are arranged by subject.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Benbough family
    Benbough Foundation.
    Benbough Funeral Parlors.
    Benbough Mortuary.
    Benbough, George Legler
    Benbough, Grace Legler
    Benbough, Percy J.
    Cypress View Mausoleum.
    San Diego (Calif.). City Council.
    San Diego (Calif.). Police Dept.
    San Diego (Cruiser : CL-53).
    City council members
    Funeral homes
    Mayors -- Election
    Political campaigns
    San Diego (Calif.)
    San Diego (Calif.). Fire & Life Safety Services
    School yearbooks
    Undertakers and undertaking