William E. Ritter Papers, ca. 1890-1944 (SMC 0004)

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

Extent: 3.25 Linear feet (5 archives boxes, 1 flat box)

Digital Content

Selected photographs from this collection have been digitized and can be viewed through links in the container list.

The collection consists of professional correspondence, administrative papers documenting the formative years of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a selection of Ritter's manuscripts and notes, and photographs.

William E. Ritter (1856-1944) was a biologist and co-founder of the Scripps Institution for Oceanography. Ritter received his BA from the University of California and his MA and Ph.D. in zoology from Harvard. He returned to Berkeley in 1891 to teach biology at the University of California, shortly thereafter becoming chair of the new Department of Zoology. He married physician Mary Elizabeth Bennett in 1891. Ritter was determined to set up a coastal laboratory for the study of marine biology, and in 1903, with the support of E.W. Scripps and Ellen Browning Scripps, Ritter founded the Marine Biological Association of San Diego. The laboratory settled into its present location in La Jolla in 1905. Negotiations between the Scripps family and the University of California were completed in 1912, and Ritter served as the first scientific director of SIO from 1912-1922. A humanist, scientist, and prolific author, Ritter developed the organismal theory of biology and advocated for popular science literacy and education after his retirement from SIO. He remained active in the scientific community until his death.

The collection consists of professional correspondence, administrative papers documenting the formative years of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a selection of Ritter's manuscripts and notes, and photographs. The material is principally related to Ritter's role as the first scientific director of the Marine Biological Association of San Diego, revealing his interests, management philosophy, fundraising efforts, and research as a zoologist and marine biologist.

Arranged in five series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) MARINE BIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF SAN DIEGO AND SCRIPPS INSTITUTION FOR BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH, 3) NOTES, WRITINGS AND LECTURES, 4) PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES, and 5) PHOTOGRAPHS AND MISCELLANEOUS.

Bennett Family Papers, SMC 48. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

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

Mary Bennett Ritter Diaries, SMC 47. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

Ritter Family Papers, SMC 15. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

SIO Biographical Files, SAC 5. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

William E. Ritter Papers, BANC MSS 71/3 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

William E. Ritter's literary executor, Edna Watson Baily, donated Ritter's papers on the administration of SIO to the Scripps Library in 1963. In 1979, material concerning the following individuals was removed and interfiled in the SIO Biographical Files (SAC 5): Winfred Emory Allen, Fred Baker, Percy Spencer Barnhart, S. Stillman Berry, Wesley Clarence Crandall, Christine Essenberg, Calvin Olin Esterly, Jacob Chandler Harper, Charles Atwood Kofoid, George Francis McEwen, Ellis Leroy Michael, James Ross, E. W. Scripps, Ellen Browning Scripps, Francis Bertody Sumner, Margaret E. Sumner, Harry Beal Torrey and Julius Wangenheim. The remaining papers were processed in 1982, and a revised finding aid with a correspondent index was published (SIO Reference Number 82-16). Eight additional small accessions of Ritter material, including photographs and the guestbook, were added to the papers in 2014.

Container List

CORRESPONDENCE

Scope and Content of Series

Series 1) CORRESPONDENCE: Three boxes of professional letters on topics such as research, funding, laboratory supplies, scholarly publishing, and management. Major correspondents include Morse Cartwright, Barton Evermann, Victor H. Henderson, Hugh McCormick Smith, Robert G. Sproul, and Benjamin Wheeler. Arranged chronologically.

Box: 1
Undated, 1893-1912
Box: 2
1913-1917
Box: 3
1918-1941

MARINE BIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF SAN DIEGO AND SCRIPPS INSTITUTION FOR BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH

Scope and Content of Series

Series 2) MARINE BIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION OF SAN DIEGO AND SCRIPPS INSTITUTION FOR BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH: Consists of annual reports on the activities of the station to the Department of Zoology at UC Berkeley, and related research and administrative materials. Arranged chronologically.

Box: 4 Folder: 1
"Report on hydrographic work, done in connection with the Marine Biological Investigations at San Pedro", 1901
Box: 4 Folder: 2
"Preliminary report to the President of the University...on the marine biological explorations conducted by the Zoological Department...", 1901
Box: 4 Folder: 3
Annual reports, 1902-1905
Box: 4 Folder: 4
Notes, "Requirements for making the boat house at Coronado serviceable for a marine biological laboratory", ca. 1903
Box: 4 Folder: 5
Materials on the Scripps Institution for Biological Research, 1906-1916
Box: 4 Folder: 6
Notes, "Course to be followed", 1907
Box: 4 Folder: 7
Comments on the culture of the Department of Zoology and the study of biology for the President's Report, 1910 April
Box: 4 Folder: 8
Draft, "Aims of the proposed laboratory to the fulfillment of which the University agrees to be bound", ca. 1912
Box: 4 Folder: 9
Advertisement for a public Scripps lecture series entitled "Resources of the sea", 1914 August
Box: 4 Folder: 10
Scientific collecting permits from the CA Fish and Game Commission, 1915-1918
Box: 4 Folder: 11
"Warnock's data showing relation between water temperature and the albacore catch", 1917
Box: 4 Folder: 12
"Resolutions re an international treaty and an international commission for the study of fishery problems of the North Pacific", 1923 January 27
Box: 4 Folder: 13
Directions for collecting microplankton by measured water method, undated

NOTES, WRITINGS AND LECTURES

Scope and Content of Series

Series 3) NOTES, WRITINGS AND LECTURES: Consists of research notes and a small selection of Ritter's manuscripts, lectures, and writings. Arranged chronologically.

Box: 4 Folder: 14
Miscellaneous notes, undated
Box: 4 Folder: 15
Notes on Balanoglossus, ca. 1890
Box: 4 Folder: 16-20
Manuscript and illustrations, Enteropneusta of Pacific coast of North America, ca. 1900-1904
Box: 4 Folder: 21
Notes and drawings on Tornaria, 1900-1905
Box: 4 Folder: 22
Manuscript and notes, "Theoretical phylogenic aspects of Enteropneusta", ca. 1902-1936
Box: 4 Folder: 23
"Lecture to the citizens of La Jolla," on the expansion of Scripps, 1907 July
Box: 4 Folder: 24
Photographs, sketches and notes on Dermochelys schlegelii (leatherback turtle) caught in La Jolla, 1908 June 22
Box: 4 Folder: 25
"Science for the Millions" reprint from Scientific American Monthly and Science Service ephemera, ca. 1921
Box: 4 Folder: 26
Notes, 1921 September
Box: 4 Folder: 27
The Problem of General Science in Education - By W. E. Ritter and Edna Watson Bailey, 1924
Box: 4 Folder: 28
Printed booklet, Natural Versus Supernatural, 1930
Box: 4 Folder: 29
Manuscript, "Philosophy of E. W. Scripps", 1944

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

Scope and Content of Series

Series 4) PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES: Meeting minutes and papers from Ritter's work in scientific associations.

Box: 5 Folder: 1
"Recommendations and suggestions of the Committee on Conservation of Marine Life of the Pacific...relating to the Fur Seal Treaty of December 15, 1911", 1922 February
Box: 5 Folder: 2
Minutes of the Committee on Zoological Investigations, 1917-1918
Box: 5 Folder: 3
Minutes of the Executive Committee of the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1918-1922
Box: 5 Folder: 4
Minutes and remarks, National Research Council, Division of Foreign Relations, 1921-1922

PHOTOGRAPHS AND MISCELLANEOUS

Scope and Content of Series

Series 5) PHOTOGRAPHS AND MISCELLANEOUS: Consists of portraits and informal snapshots; a guestbook from the Ritter dwelling at Scripps, and reproductions of plans for a home in Berkeley, California.

Box: 5 Folder: 5
Guestbook, 1910-1923

Guestbook was a gift from Ellen Browning Scripps in 1910. Contains signatures and remarks of guests of the Ritters at their apartment in the Scripps Laboratory from June 24, 2010 to June 23, 1923, including all station staff, members of the Scripps family, University administrators, and distinguished visitors like David Starr Jordan, Clarance Darrow, and Lincoln Steffens.

Box: 5 Folder: 6
Ritter house plans, Berkeley, Calif. , 1908 October 1

Photographic reproductions of plans for the house, never built, designed by Morgan and Hoover, Architects. Originals at UC Berkeley, College of Environmental Design.

Photographs
Box: 5 Folder: 7
Portraits of William E. Ritter and Mary Bennett Ritter, 1908-1940

One photograph from this folder has been digitized and may be viewed through the link below.

Box: 6 Folder: 1-2
Oversize portraits of William E. Ritter and Mary Bennett Ritter, 1908-1925

One photograph from this folder has been digitized and may be viewed through the link below.

Box: 5 Folder: 8
Portrait of Ellen Browning Scripps, 1919
Box: 6 Folder: 3
Portrait of E. W. Scripps [?], 1900