Scripps Family Papers on the Founding of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1900-1996 (bulk 1903-1938) (SMC 3)

OFF-SITE STORAGE: COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. ALLOW ONE WEEK FOR RETRIEVAL OF MATERIALS.

Extent: 1.6 Linear feet (4 archives boxes, and 1 oversize folder)

Digital Content

One photograph from this collection has been digitized, and is linked via the container list.

A small but important collection of correspondence, records, miscellaneous papers, and photographs that documents the Scripps family's role as a foundational supporter of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, originally known as the Marine Biological Association of San Diego.

In 1903, UC Berkeley biologist William E. Ritter and San Diego physician Fred Baker, with the financial support of philanthropists E. W. Scripps and Ellen Browning Scripps, founded the Marine Biological Association of San Diego. The purpose of the Association was to advance the study of marine sciences. Ritter was appointed as its first director and supervised the activities of temporary research stations in San Diego Bay. In 1905, the Association leased property above La Jolla Cove and established a marine laboratory. Ellen Browning Scripps added a codicil to her will in 1909 bequeathing a gift to the Regents of the University of California for a permanent marine biological station, and construction of the first building on the current campus, the George H. Scripps Memorial Marine Biological Laboratory, was completed in 1910. In July of 1912, the Association deeded its property to the Regents and became the Scripps Institution for Biological Research, formally becoming part of the UC System. In 1925, it was renamed the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Members of the Scripps family were important early philanthropists in San Diego; the Scripps family fortune, especially under the generous philanthropy of Ellen Browning Scripps, left a lasting mark on many San Diego science, social, and cultural heritage institutions.

Ellen Browning Scripps (1836-1932) was born in London to a publishing family. Her father, after the deaths of his first two spouses and a failed bookbinding venture, immigrated to the United States in 1844 and settled in Illinois. There, he wed his third wife and had five more children, one of whom, Edward Willis Scripps (E. W. Scripps, 1854-1926) became a newspaper tycoon and founder of the E. W. Scripps Company. E. W. Scripps became close to his older half-sister, Ellen, later in life. After studying science and mathematics at Knox College, Miss Scripps took a job as a schoolteacher in Illinois. After the Civil War, she joined her brother James E. Scripps in Detroit, helping him with his publishing business and the Detroit Evening News. She wrote a daily column and became a shareholder in his company. In the 1880s, E. W. led a failed attempt to seize control of the Scripps Publishing Company; this led to a contentious lawsuit and break with his brother James.

Shortly after 1890, following extensive international travels, E. W. and Ellen purchased land in San Diego and established Miramar Ranch. Ellen eventually moved to La Jolla in 1897 and became a fixture of the community there, involving herself in a wide range of progressive causes and institutions. Miss Scripps had made a personal fortune by investing in E. W. Scripps's growing chain of newspapers in the West; she also received a sizable inheritance from her brother George H. Scripps. Continually interested in science and education, she donated considerable funds to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography from its earliest beginnings in 1903, and generously supported many other San Diego schools, hospitals, nature reserves, museums, and social organizations.

The Scripps Family Papers on the Founding of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) is a small but important collection of correspondence, records, miscellaneous papers, and photographs that documents the Scripps family's role as a foundational supporter of SIO (originally known as the Marine Biological Association of San Diego). The early correspondence includes exchanges between Ellen Browning Scripps, E. W. Scripps, and Robert Paine Scripps with the first series of officers of the Institution, including Fred Baker, William E. Ritter, Thomas Wayland Vaughan, Harald Sverdrup, and presidents of the University of California. The collection also includes copies of foundational meeting minutes, documentation from the city of San Diego and the Regents, some financial files, and drafts of the Institution's early by-laws. It includes many letters and other documents essential to an understanding of the founding and early years of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, including perspectives of key personnel and the evolution of the research program.

Arranged in four series: 1) EARLY CORRESPONDENCE, 2) INSTITUTION RECORDS, 3) MISCELLANEOUS, and 4) PHOTOGRAPHS.

Ellen Browning Scripps Collection, D1981.1. Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College, Claremont, California.

Marine Biological Association of San Diego Records, SAC 37. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

William E. Ritter Papers, SMC 4. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

SIO Office of the Director Records, SAC 1. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

Thomas Wayland Vaughan Papers, SMC 14. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

Provenance

The bulk of these materials were orginally archived within the E. W. Scripps Trust records. They were transferred to the SIO Archives in 1992 due to their direct relevance to the founding of SIO.

Container List

EARLY CORRESPONDENCE

Scope and Content of Series

Series 1) EARLY CORRESPONDENCE: Letters exchanged between Ellen Browning Scripps, E. W. Scripps, and Robert Paine Scripps and the founding officers of SIO, including Fred Baker, William E. Ritter, Thomas Wayland Vaughan, W. C. Crandall, and later, Harald Sverdrup. Correspondents also include city of San Diego officials, University of California President Benjamin Wheeler, and various agents of the Regents. The letters document in extreme detail the Scripps family's early support for the first Biological Station, and its growth into the Scripps Institution for Biological Research, and finally the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The writers of the letters and memoranda discuss financial arrangements and budgets, real estate development, facilities construction, and ship leases and purchases. The letters also document the evolution of the research program and faculty. E. W. Scripps' letters also discuss his newspaper publishing business (including the impact of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake) and his other interests in San Diego.

Box 1 Folder 1-10
Marine Biological Association of San Diego, 1903-1912
Box 1 Folder 11-20
Scripps Institution for Biological Research, 1912-1923
Box 2 Folder 1-3
Scripps Institution for Biological Research, 1924-1925
Box 2 Folder 4-16
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1925-1938

INSTITUTION RECORDS

Scope and Content of Series

Series 2) INSITUTION RECORDS: A one-box assortment of foundational records, most in carbon copy, relating to the founding of SIO. Includes board and trustee meeting minutes, agreements between the Scripps family and the Regents of the University of California, drafts of by-laws, articles of incorporation, ship procurement records, and reports.

Box 3 Folder 5
Box 3 Folder 7
Box 3 Folder 13
Box 3 Folder 14
Box 3 Folder 15
Box 3 Folder 16-17
SIO Advisory Board - Meeting minutes, 1928-1929, 1932
Box 3 Folder 18
SIO budget, 1927-1928
Box 3 Folder 19-20
R/V Scripps - Procurement and outfitting, 1927-1934
Box 3 Folder 21
Seaplane unit for oceanographic research - Report submitted by H. L. Kirby, 1931

Signed by McEwen, Allen, Moberg, Fox, Gorton, and Gee.

Box 3 Folder 22
Donation vouchers and receipts, 1932-1936
Box 3 Folder 23
Contributions by Robert P. Scripps to SIO - Ledgers, ca. 1938

MISCELLANEOUS

Scope and Content of Series

Series 3) MISCELLANEOUS: Assorted papers and letters regarding the Scripps family generally, and their ongoing relationship to SIO. Includes sketches of Scripps family genealogies, photocopies of clippings about the early Marine Biological Association and its successor Institution, historical summaries, and fundraising correspondence between SIO and the officer of the E. W. Scripps Trust regarding financial donations to support new buildings and renovations on campus.

Box 3 Folder 24
Notes on Scripps family genealogy and trees, undated
Box 3 Folder 25
Clippings (photocopies), ca. 1914-1937
Oversize FB-560 Folder 5
Clippings (originals), ca. 1905
Box 3 Folder 26
Conference on the work of the Scripps Institution - Remarks by W. Ritter and Joseph Le Conte (satire/humor), 1921

Satirical notes from an imagined "conference" at which the attendees are luminaries such as Charles Darwin, William Wordsworth, Dante, etc. lounging near the pier.

Box 3 Folder 27
Time magazine with Miss Ellen Scripps on the cover, 1926 February 22
Box 3 Folder 28
Presentation and remarks on acceptance of Dr. Ritter portrait by President W. W. Campbell and T. Wayland Vaughan, 1927
Box 4 Folder 1
Davis, B. M. - An hour's cruise with E. W. Scripps, 1936
Box 4 Folder 2
Historical summaries of SIO, 1948-1973
Box 4 Folder 3
"The Scripps are very much with us: The family today," by Mary Cowan Richard, 1954
Box 4 Folder 4
Requests to Edward W. Scripps Trust to support SIO, 1976-1977
Box 4 Folder 5
Old Scripps Building restoration fund, 1978-1979
Box 4 Folder 6
Requests to Edward W. Scripps Trust to support new Aquarium, 1985-1988
Box 4 Folder 7
Stephen Birch Aquarium-Museum ground breaking, 1989

Includes photographs of Bill Scripps, Sam Scripps, and Don Wilkie.

Box 4 Folder 8
Correspondence with E. W. Scripps Trust re: Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier ground breaking, 1987-1989

Includes contact sheets of photographs taken at the event.

SCRIPPS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS

Scope and Content of Series

Series 4) PHOTOGRAPHS: A small collection of photographic prints and negatives of members of the Scripps family, some of which are originals (others are copy prints).

Box 4 Folder 9
Ellen Browning Scripps (copy prints), ca. 1912-1932
Box 4 Folder 10
Edward W. Scripps (prints and negatives)
Portrait of E. W. Scripps as a young man, ca. 1903
Box 4 Folder 11
Miramar Ranch, home of Edward W. Scripps, ca. 1909
Box 4 Folder 12-13
Robert Paine Scripps (prints and negatives)
Box 4 Folder 14
Edward W. "Ted" Scripps (prints and negatives)
Box 4 Folder 15
Scripps family (prints and negatives), 1900-1908, 1996
Box 4 Folder 16
Bee Scripps at Aquarium-Museum, 1953
Box 4 Folder 17
George Scripps, 1862-1987