Ritter Family Papers, 1841-1916 (SMC 0015)

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

Extent: 0.65 Linear feet (1.5 archives boxes)

Digital Content

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

The collection consists of correspondence, legal documents, and early photographs from the Ritter families of Syracuse, New York and Hampden, Wisconsin, the immediate relatives of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography founder William E. Ritter.

Ezra Ritter (1793-1876) and his wife Mary Church Ritter (1793-1877) resided in Syracuse, New York. They had five sons, Seneca Dwight, Horatio, George Nelson, Nelson and William Ezra. Seneca Dwight (1820-1886) and Horatio (1822-1896) moved west to Hampden, Wisconsin and established adjoining farms prior to 1850. Horatio and Leonora Eason Ritter (1827-1896) had five children: Mary Emaline, Ella Louisa, William E., Frank Leslie and Flora Orilla. Seneca Dwight and Damaris Winslow Ritter had three children: Dwight, Jane and Elizabeth.

William E. Ritter (1856-1944), biologist and co-founder of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was born on the farm in Hampden, Wisconsin. His uncle Nelson of Syracuse encouraged William's education and scientific career, and maintained close ties between the New York and Wisconsin branches of the Ritter family. William left his parent's farm to attend the State Normal School at Oshkosh. He obtained degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard University, and began teaching at the University of California, Berkeley in 1891. The Ritter family papers were gathered from the Ritter ancestral home in Syracuse, New York and donated to the SIO Archives in 1986.

The collection consists of correspondence, legal documents, and early photographs from the Ritter families of Syracuse, New York and Hampden, Wisconsin, the immediate relatives of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography founder William E. Ritter.

Arranged in three series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) LEGAL PAPERS, and 3) PHOTOGRAPHS.

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

Container List

CORRESPONDENCE

Scope and Content of Series

Series 1) CORRESPONDENCE: Letters and postcards exchanged between members of the Ritter family, the majority written by William E. Ritter and his uncle Nelson Ritter between 1860 and 1905. The correspondence documents births, deaths, and the health of family members; social and economic aspects of life on the farms; and William E. Ritter's educational and career experiences. Early letters contain impressions of the Civil War and Union recruiting and drafting policies in Wisconsin. The final folder in the series contains handwritten poems. Arranged chronologically.

Box: 1 Folder: 1-36
Letters, 1841-1916

Folder 35 contains several California and La Jolla themed picture postcards ca. 1910.

Box: 1 Folder: 37
Poems, undated

RECEIPTS AND LEGAL PAPERS

Scope and Content of Series

Series 2) LEGAL PAPERS: Documents concerning the estate of Ezra Ritter, such as receipts, tax records, and bank documents.

Box: 1 Folder: 38-39
Receipts, 1876-1886
Box: 1 Folder: 40-42
City taxes, 1863-1908
Box: 1 Folder: 43
Bank receipts, 1901-1909
Box: 2 Folder: 1-5
Legal papers, 1824-1891

PHOTOGRAPHS

Scope and Content of Series

Series 3) PHOTOGRAPHS: Contains two original tintypes of William E. Ritter as a young man, and portraits of other family members. Photographic postcards are located in the CORRESPONDENCE series.

Box: 2 Folder: 6
Ritter family portraits, ca. 1860-1890s

Selected photographs from this folder have been digitized and can be viewed through the links below.

Portrait subjects include (all surnames Ritter): Mary Church and Ezra (grandparents of WER), Leonora (mother of WER), Horatio (father of WER), Seneca (brother of WER), William E., Ella Louisa, Dwight Nelson, Mary Elizabeth, Damaris Winslow, Jane, and Mary Emaline.