"Ellen Browning Scripps: A Woman of Character"

Note: In 1924, journalist and publisher Ellen Browning Scripps founded Scripps Memorial Hospital and Scripps Metabolic Clinic in La Jolla, California. Two years later, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine. Here, excerpts from that article, February 22, 1926.

"Ellen Browning Scripps was seven when her father, a London bookbinder, settled in Rushville, Ill. She wanted a college education and got it at Knox College in neighboring Galesburg. When her brother James started the Detroit News she joined him, read proof, prepared miscellany. In the 70s, Woman Suffrage and Prohibition were unheard of doctrines. She wrote, taught, thought them. Her brothers continued building newspapers (the Cleveland Press, St. Louis Chronicle, Cincinnati Post). She became a rich woman, 'with a remarkable capacity for statements and figures.'

"Miss Ellen has always regarded her wealth as 'a trust for the benefit of humanity.' Her personal expenditures are trifling. She gives, has made giving an art. She runs her eye down a contribution list, matches her donation with the largest there, says 'Whatever you lack, come to me...'

"She gave the world's largest aviary to Balboa Park, San Diego; the San Diego Community Welfare Building; the La Jolla playground; the Scripps Memorial Hospital; the Scripps Biological Institute at Miramar (to further the work of Dr. W.E. Ritter, world-known marine biologist). Yet the bulk of her giving has been indirect or anonymous.

"Until she broke her hip in 1922, her habit was to sleep under the stars on a wall-less, roofless porch. She arose early, greeting milkmen and 'newsies' on her morning walks. She would have no automobile until very lately, when she could not refuse her brother's gift. "Woman of character," her biographers call her, keen-minded, a voracious reader, benevolent, an alert citizen, 'one to know whom is a benediction.'"

(reprinted by persmission of the Scripps Foundation)

‹back to top› close window