For the Love of Books

by Kristina Brooks

On October 6, the Scripps community celebrated the dedication of the Ellen Browning Scripps Reading Room and Courtyard. The courtyard has been landscaped with California native plants, a reflection of Miss Scripps’ interest in natural history and wildflowers.

Located contiguous to and just south of Denison Library, the Reading Room will house approximately 700 volumes from Miss Scripps’ personal brook collection, as well 35 file cabinet drawers of her personal papers-correspondence, diaries, photographs, and business documents.

According to Denison Librarian Judy Harvey Sahak ’64, the Reading Room “symbolizes and is the locus of Miss Scripps’ belief in the benefits to humankind of education.” Miss Scripps had a passion for reading, and her one extravagance seems to have been books.

At the dedication, Ellen Clark Revelle ‘3l and Ruth Andersson May ’40 shared personal reminiscences before the guest speaker, Patricia Schaelchlin, addressed the audience. Revelle, a member of the first class to enter Scripps, is the grandniece of Ellen Browning Scripps. May’s grandfather was J.C. Harper, Miss Scripps’ counsel and advisor, as well as the first chairman of the Board of Trustees. Schaelchlin is the author of the forthcoming biography of the Scripps family, The Newspaper Barons.

After the program in the Malott Commons, the audience adjourned to the site of the Reading Room, where President Bekavac performed the ribbon cutting. Tea and tours of the Reading Room followed.