Historical Society salutes patroness of La Jolla: Ellen Browning Scripps (1836-1932)

By Ashley Mackin

Ellen Browning Scripps’s contributions to La Jolla as a “woman’s town,” was the topic of discussion at the La Jolla Historical Society’s annual EBS birthday luncheon, Oct. 19 at the Beach & Tennis Club.

lewis and connie Branscomb, event chair, pose with the ‘Old Black Goose,’ a 1915 Packard, on loan from the kellogg family as a backdrop for guest photos.


Molly McClain, history professor at University of San Diego and editor of the Journal of San Diego History, was the keynote speaker. Her book “American Money: The Life and Philanthropy of Ellen Browning Scripps” is pending publication.

Using slides provided by the San Diego History Center, McClain recalled how early La Jolla was considered a woman’s town, and how people like Browning Scripps were a big part of that.

Keynote speaker Molly McClain, a history professor at University of san Diego, gives a presentation about Ellen Browning Scripps and gets into the spirit with a vintage umbrella.


“Her defiance of convention made her beloved among the women of early La Jolla,” McClain said, noting that La Jolla attracted women who did not fit into the “Victorian classification scheme.”

EBS’ early contributions included donating the land and money needed to establish a permanent home for the La Jolla Woman’s Club; supporting women’s suffrage; forming groups to discuss women’s issues in politics, literature and science; and studying theology, later denouncing Christianity for the misogyny she found in the notion of sin (without original sin, there is no need for women to bear the shame of Eden, McClain explained).

Molly McClain gives a presentation on Ellen Browning Scripps.


La Jolla Historical Society Executive Director Heath Fox, applauded McClain for her presentation and called the event a “fabulous success.”

“There are a lot of different aspects of history to explore … there are many different layers of history in this community,” Fox said.

La Jolla Historical Society Executive Director Heath Fox.

Terre Edwards and Marian Warwick pick out period attire for their photo.

Judy Hodges with local author Suzanne Bourgeois, who donated her new book ‘Genesis of The Salk Institute’ to the silent auction.

Pat Dahlberg, former head of the La Jolla Historical Society.

A 1926 issue of TIME Magazine with Ellen Browning Scripps on the cover is on display.

Related posts:

  1. La Jolla auto show to rev folks’ engines with luxury rides, art, music and retro cocktails at Concours d’Elegance
  2. Tours of La Jolla’s cultural gems set for Nov. 18
  3. Model Mid-Century La Jolla home receives historic designation
  4. Sunday’s La Jolla Christmas Parade is ready to roll
  5. La Jolla Open Aire Market marks 14th year with Harvest Festival on Sunday, Oct. 28

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Posted by Ashley Mackin on Oct 27, 2013. Filed under Community, Events, La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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