Guide to the Miss Billy Riley Papers MS 215

Finding aid prepared by Alison Hennessey
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.
San Diego History Center Document Collection
1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101
May 17, 2012

Title: Miss Billy Riley Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MS 215
Contributing Institution: San Diego History Center Document Collection
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 0.25 Linear feet (1 box)
Date (inclusive): 1965-2000
Abstract: The collection contains materials related to the tourism promotion activities of civic leader Miss Billy Riley.
creator: Riley, Billy, Miss

Scope and Content

The collection contains materials related to Miss Billy Riley’s contribution to promoting tourism in Downtown San Diego and the Gaslamp Quarter. The collection includes correspondence regarding local hotel/motel tax propositions in the 1960s and 1980s. Awards and articles highlight Riley’s civic involvement in promoting and expanding tourism in San Diego, especially Downtown.

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The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials.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 Alison Hennessey on May 17, 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

Miss Billy Riley Papers, MS 215, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.


Collection materials are arranged by subject.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Born in Erick, Oklahoma, Miss Billy Riley, as she prefers to be known, moved to San Diego in 1944. She became a civic leader in San Diego after becoming the first woman manager of a major hotel, the Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island, in the 1960s. She would later become part owner. In 1967 she was the first female president of the San Diego Hotel-Motel Association. She was also the first woman director of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce in 1968. Her civic contributions to San Diego ranged from fighting litter to forging a better relationship with Mexico to co-chairing the 1968 World Surfing Olympics. Miss Billy Riley moved back to Oklahoma in 1979 before returning to San Diego. In 1981, she then joined the restoration and renovation efforts at the Horton Grand Hotel. In 1985, she was the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau. She also served on the Gaslamp Quarter Council and Old Town Chamber of Commerce. In the early 1990s she moved to Dallas, Texas where she remarried and lived for a few years before again returning to San Diego. Miss Billy Riley has six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Separated Materials

Original photographs separated to Photograph Collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number 2001.042.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Center City Association (San Diego, Calif.).
Half Moon Inn (San Diego, Calif.).
Horton Grand Hotel.
Reagan, Ronald
Riley, Billy, Miss
San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau.
San Diego Convention Center.
Soroptimist International Association.
Gaslamp Quarter (San Diego, Calif.)
Hotels -- California
San Diego (Calif.)
Tijuana (Baja California, Mexico)

Box-folder 1:1

Propositions C and A correspondence, 1965 March 5–1983 November 8 and undated


Correspondence regarding Proposition C, circa 1965, and Proposition A, circa 1983
Box-folder 1:2

Awards and invitations, 1983 May 9–1999 October 14 and undated


“26th Annual Downtown Improvement Awards” (poster blueprint) 1989 (in Oversize Collections D4)
“Alonzo Award, Billy Riley” (blueprint) undated (in Oversize Collections D4)
Box-folder 1:3

Articles related to and written by Miss Billy Riley, 1965 June 20–2000 March 20 and undated


Letter to the Editor by Miss Billy Riley
Box-folder 1:4

Photographs (copies), undated


Ronald Reagan
Tijuana, Mexico
Renovation and restoration of Horton Grand Hotel
Box-folder 1:5

Miscellanea, 1999 September 4 and undated


Facsimile transmittal sheet from Pattie Roscoe to Terry Cahill regarding the death of Walter Palmer
Pamphlet on the First San Diego Courthouse in Old Town