Some original correspondence, photographs and other primary source material documenting the history of Scripps Institution of Oceanography was collected from time to time by Scripps Library staff and held in the Library's special collections as early as the 1940's. Proceeding forward until the establishment of Scripps Archives in 1981, Helen Raitt and Elizabeth Shor gathered significant quantities of early files from donors and Scripps offices. Raitt and Shor recognized the value of establishing an historical archives for Scripps, laying an impressive foundation for the collections of Scripps Archives today.
The original order of many files received had been disturbed, and these materials were organized into two large artificial aggregated files: the Biographical Files and the Subject Files. These two aggregated collections are thus essential for researching the early history of Scripps, in conjunction with pertinent separate and distinct archival collections.