In photographs, the indomitable Ellen Browning Scripps looks like the kind of wealthy matron who’d know which fork to use and how to discipline any servant who didn’t.
She did indeed have a sharp tongue. But as University of San Diego historian Molly McClain has discovered, Scripps was hardly a model of snooty upper-class propriety. She had horrible handwriting, couldn’t care less about fashionable clothes and promoted the rights of women long before they had a prayer of getting the vote.
She even landed on the cover of Time Magazine at a time when women made few appearances there.
Almost eight decades after her death in 1932, examples of the newspaper magnate’s legacy can be found across San Diego: an oceanography institution, a hospital chain, museums, schools and even a beach.