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The Johns Hopkins Hospital opened on May 7, 1889. It was one of the first models of a teaching hospital, designed to unite functions of patient care with education and research. The founder was Johns Hopkins, a wealthy Quaker merchant and banker in Baltimore. Regarding his wealth as a trust to benefit humankind, he bequeathed his fortune for the establishment of the hospital and university that bear his name. Mr. Hopkins selected the site for the hospital and purchased the tract of land for its construction.
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In 1867, Mr. Hopkins moved to incorporate the hospital and university as separate corporate structures with interlocking boards of trustees. He selected the trustees for each board and charged them with sets of guiding principles. In 1873, he specified in a letter to hospital trustees that the hospital must provide for “the indigent sick of this city and its environs, without regard to sex, age, or color, who may require surgical or medical treatment”. His letter also specified that schools of nursing and medicine be established in conjunction with the hospital and university. The hospital-based school of nursing opened in 1889 and the university school of medicine opened six years later in 1893.
Whereas the university opened in 1876, planning and development of the highly specialized hospital took much longer due to financial setbacks and construction delays. The hospital trustees selected John Shaw Billings, a physician and officer in the office of the surgeon general of the U.S. Army, as the principle architect of the hospital. Having gained renown for expertise in the design and construction of field hospitals during the Civil War, Billings developed a plan to integrate functions of patient care, research, and teaching for The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He also supervised its design and construction.
In his address at the opening of the hospital, Billings expressed the hope that the hospital would “become a model of its kind”. Since then the hospital has evolved into one of the largest and best-known teaching hospitals in the country. In 1986, the hospital became part of The Johns Hopkins Health System (JHHS), a not-for-profit organization developed to compete in the changing healthcare economy. Its initiatives included expansion of specialty and outpatient services. Later in 1996, JHHS formed a collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. This collaboration, known as Johns Hopkins Medicine, coordinates internal operations and provides a united voice for external initiatives. The Johns Hopkins Hospital is the flagship hospital of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
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The Records of The Johns Hopkins Hospital document the founding, governance, administration and leadership of the hospital from its inception to today. There are records pertaining to patient care, administrative and clinical departments, unions and employee relations, facilities, and the Johns Hopkins base hospital units during World Wars I and II. There is also a significant group of hospital photographs and official publications, including the Johns Hopkins Hospital Superintendents’ Reports and the Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
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