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M. Carey Thomas was born in Baltimore in 1857 and was educated at Cornell University. Denied the opportunity to work for a Ph.D. in the United States, she studied in Germany and Switzerland from 1879 through 1883, when she received her Ph.D. from the University of Zurich. She was appointed professor of English literature and dean of Bryn Mawr College in 1884; in 1894, she was named president. In 1885, Thomas, Mary E. Garrett, and three other women founded the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore to prepare girls for Bryn Mawr College’s difficult entrance exams. In 1893, Garrett, Thomas, and other women were instrumental in raising $500,000 for the establishment of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The gift, known as the Women’s Memorial Fund, was conditional upon the University agreeing to admit women to the medical school on an equal basis with men and to require all candidates for admission to have a B.S. degree.

Scope and Content

This collection is composed primarily of correspondence between M. Carey Thomas and her nephew, Dr. Henry M. Thomas, Jr. These letters written by M. Carey Thomas and the (carbon copies of the) replies of H. M. Thomas are filled with news of their travels, their households, and their work, as well as news of their family and friends, many of whom were connected with Johns Hopkins. Many of the letters also contain personal medical information that M. Carey Thomas provided to her nephew, who also served as her physician. He consulted frequently with his uncle, Dr. Simon Flexner, regarding his aunt’s health; their correspondence is also included. The collection also contains clippings about M. Carey Thomas and Bryn Mawr as well as reprints of her publications. Also included are correspondence and records regarding the maintenance of The Mary E. Garrett Memorial Room in the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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