The collection consists of correspondence, business and financial papers, family notes, bound volumes, and ephemera related
to the Banning family and collected by Katharine Stewart Banning.
Phineas Banning (1830-1885) was born in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1861 he arrived in San Pedro, California, and worked as
a store clerk and stagecoach driver before starting his own staging and shipping company, which rapidly expanded throughout
California as well as to Arizona and Utah. In the late 1850s, he joined a group of investors who purchased 640 acres of land
near San Pedro to expand the port. This land was later named Wilmington after Banning’s birthplace. By the 1860s Banning was
heavily involved in most of the operations of San Pedro Harbor. During the Civil War he was given the honorary title of Brigadier
General of the California First Brigade, and continued to use the honorarium “General” for the rest of his life. In the 1870s
he became a California state senator and campaigned for more elaborate transportation connections between Los Angeles and
San Pedro port. Banning’s first wife was Rebecca Sanford, with whom he had three children who survived to adulthood: William,
Joseph Brent, and Hancock. After Rebecca’s death he married Mary Hollister, and they had two surviving daughters, Mary Banning
Norris (1871-1953) and Lucy Tichenor Banning (1873-1929). By 1880 Banning had scaled back his business ventures, and after
several years of illness died in San Francisco.
Approx. 1,683 items
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