Joseph W. Sefton, Jr.

Joseph W. Sefton, Jr. (1881-1966) was elected to the Exposition’s Executive Committee on September 11, 1909. As Acting Director-General in 1911 Sefton led a public campaign to resolve the dispute, among lesser issues, over the salary of Frank P. Allen, Jr., Director of Works. Sefton published an opinion piece in the San Diego Union on June 16th, 1911, page 10 col. 1, in support of the Exposition Board and chastising the Park Board for their interference with Exposition progress. In the San Diego Union on June 18th, 1911, printed the resignations of Exposition board president U.S. Grant, Jr., vice president John D. Spreckels, acting director-general Joseph W. Sefton, Jr., and director William Clayton, each of which were to be submitted three days hence. Sefton called for a meeting of Exposition stockholders two days hence. On the same page Ernest Riall, in a letter to Sefton, proposed the recall of Mayor Wadham for his role in obstruction of the Exposition Board.

Following Ulysses S. Grant, Jr.’s resignation as exposition president on November 22, 1911, the directors appointed Colonel D.C. Collier president and Joseph W. Sefton, Jr. director-general, a position which he resigned in August 1912.

An article in the San Diego Union (Jan 1, 1912 page 39) praised Sefton’s work for the Exposition.

Sefton is the financial genius of the exposition. Trained banker and business man, he looks after the money end. No bill, no estimate, no item of any bill or estimate is too small for Sefton to see. It makes no difference whether it is set of plans from the director of works calling for the expenditure of half a million, or a bill from the publicity department for a cut to go to some little country newspaper, Sefton sees them all, and he wants to know about them all and invariably understands each item before it is passed to approval. All this makes for economy and efficiency. That is Sefton’s strong point, efficiency.

By 1925 Sefton had called for razing all the temporary buildings.

…adapted from The Journal of San Diego History and Balboa Park and the 1915 Exposition by Richard W. Amero.