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.
3.25 Linear feet
(5 archives boxes, 1 flat box)
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
SIO ARCHIVES COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE: ALLOW ONE WEEK FOR RETRIEVAL OF MATERIALS.