The Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) Collection is made up of books, photographs, ephemera, and archival material
collected by the La Jolla Historical Society since the 1930s to use for historical research and reference. Additional photographs
of the SIO and archival material are also housed within the larger LJHS Collection. This cornerstone of La Jolla’s educational
community was laid down with the creation of the Marine Biological Association of San Diego in 1903. From 1905 to 1910 it
was located above Alligator Head in Scripps Park. The Association was established through the efforts of Dr. William Ritter
and Dr. Charles Kofoid, and in 1905, at the urging of Ellen Browning Scripps, E.W. Scripps and Dr. Fred Baker, the Station
was placed at the Park. From 1907 to 1910, expansion was inherent, and a new space was chosen north of La Jolla Shores. A
structure designed by Irving Gill was built, along with its iconic pier, which was then called the George H. Scripps Memorial
Marine Biological Laboratory. This early structure is now on the National Register of Historic Places and is a San Diego City
Historic Site. In 1912 the property was accepted by the University of California regents and in 1925 the name was changed
again to Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO). During the 1960s, led by Director Roger Revelle, it formed the nucleus
for the creation of the University of California, San Diego. Decades of SIO history extends beyond La Jolla’s shoreline because
it has become internationally known for its educational and scholarly opportunities, its shore-based laboratories as well
as its research vessels and the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. SIO’s scientific advances in oceanography attract the greatest
minds in the scientific community. Today it is one of the most important centers for global earth science research and education
in the world. This material pertains to the history and heritage of La Jolla, California, its people, places and events.
A container list is included in the PDF and HTML versions.
The La Jolla Historical Society inspires and empowers the community to make La Jolla’s diverse past a relevant part of contemporary
The La Jolla Historical Society’s Collections encompass over 80 years of actively collecting archival material, books, maps,
scrapbooks, ephemera, fine art, newspapers, street and land use files, business and personal documents and historic and archaeological
artifacts. The Society boasts over 20,000 photographs, over 1000 postcards, 400-plus architectural drawings and approximately
200 oral history recordings.
Collecting was initiated by Howard Randolph and volunteers on the historical committee of the Library Association of La Jolla.
The Collection began by gathering photographs and documentation in the late 1930s, which later became the nucleus of the La
Jolla Historical Society’s Collections. The Society was created in 1963.
Through many moves in location the Society continued collecting and expanding. Accumulated Collections took on its current
construct in 2010 after the renovation of the La Jolla Historical Society’s campus of structures in central La Jolla, which
consists of the 1904 Wisteria Cottage and 1940s Balmer Annex used for exhibits and programming, and a 1909 cottage used for
business and research offices. The late Ellen Browning Scripps’ 1916 automobile garage was also renovated and now houses
the Collection in a modern collections storage facility. Materials are housed in archival boxes, sleeves, envelopes and other
archival-safe materials and are cared for according to standards and best practices of the museum profession. In 2016, the
Society initiated new PastPerfect Museum Software to manage and catalog its Collections and in 2018 started using the Online
Archive of California to upload searchable information from its Collections to enable improved public access. The Society
will continue these processes and look forward to utilizing new opportunities to collect, preserve and share the history of
The La Jolla Historical Society holds the copyright to any unpublished materials
The Collection is open for research