The Philanthropist

Ellen Browning Scripps helped her brother, James, start the Detroit News.  She pioneered the concept of the feature article and wrote a widely-distributed daily news column until her death in 1932. The youngest child in her family, and a favorite of Ellen’s was E.W. Browning.  With her financial help, E.W. founded the chain of Scripps newspapers.  When her oldest brother George died, Ellen inherited his estate.  Ellen believed her wealth should be held in trust to help humanity. Ellen came to La Jolla in the middle 1890′s and had a profound effect on the local community. The La Jolla Woman’s Club clubhouse, at a cost of $40,000 was one of her first benefactions. She also commissioned Irving Gill to build the community building and playground (now La Jolla Recreation Center), and it was the first public playground in the U.S. Miss Scripps and E.W. built the Institute of Oceanography (another Irving Gill building); then Ellen had the road built to the Institution, and on to Del Mar (the nearest point to the railroad).  To preserve the unique Torrey Pines, Ellen built the lodge and custodian’s quarters and gave the park to San Diego. Miss Ellen’s legacy lives on in the following  institutions: Scripps Clinics and Scripps Hospitals, The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), Scripps College, The Bishops School (several buildings were also designed by Irving Gill), La Jolla Library, La Jolla Historical Society, Girl Scouts of San Diego-Imperial Council, San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Zoo, The Athenaeum and numerous other organizations that continue to benefit from her foundation. Miss Scripps was President of La Jolla Woman’s Club from 1901-1904 and from 1909-1910.