The Scripps Family Collection is a compilation of correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and brochures
regarding Scripps family members and organizations created by or supported by the Scripps Family. The collection contains
significant correspondence of the Ellen Browning Scripps Commemoration Committee and several of its prominent members including
William Scripps Kellogg and Edward Dessau Clarkson. See container list under "additional collection guides" for a listing
of file headings.
The Scripps family claims English descent dating back to the Norman Conquests. James Mogg Scripps, a bookbinder by trade,
immigrated with his six children to the United States in 1844. The family settled in Rushville, Illinois where James and his
third wife purchased a farm. In all, James Mogg Scripps had 13 descendants, of which only ten would live past the age of ten
years old. Three of these children rose to prominence and formed the nucleus of the now famous Scripps name: James E., Edward
Willis, and Ellen Browning Scripps. James was one year older than Ellen. Edward was 18 years Ellen’s junior and would come
to rely heavily on his much senior half-sister throughout his life. Their father being a book binder by trade had a large
library for a poor 19th century farmer, allowing the children to begin reading at an early age. Ellen would go on to become
one of the first women to receive a college degree from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois in 1859. Ellen was an educator
for the next 16 years. James had become part owner and publisher of the Detroit Advertiser. His sister would join him working
on the paper. Their younger half-brother Edward joined them in their newspaper endeavors in 1872.
In 1873 their newspaper, newly named the Detroit Tribune, burned to the ground. The three used the insurance money, savings,
salvage, a small insurance payment from their father who had died the same year, and investments from the rest of the siblings
to start The Detroit News. The Detroit News was the first of many successful publishing ventures for the Scripps family.
Ellen Browning first came to San Diego in 1889. She had come to California to visit an ailing sister in Alameda, California.
Edward Willis followed in December 1890. In 1891 the rest of the family was sent for. In 1897 Ellen Browning Scripps settled
in La Jolla. E. Virginia Scripps came to live with Ellen that same year. The Scripps family used their wealth to become involved
in many philanthropic endeavors and left many legacies. Some more prominent organizations and endeavors started by or supported
by the Scripps family include: The Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla Women’s Club, The Children’s Pool, Torrey Pines
State Park, Scripps Memorial Hospital, Scripps College, Bishop’s School, St. James by the Sea Episcopal Church, and Scripps
Cottage at San Diego State University. The Scripps family has also supported and continues to support many authors, editors,
and organizations too numerous to mention.
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, 600-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 1964.
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