Institutional Records

Home > Collections > Institutional Records > The Johns Hopkins Hospital > Institutional Records

The Institutional Records of The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Brief History of the Johns Hopkins Hospital

In 1867, Johns Hopkins a wealthy Baltimore businessman bequeathed $7,000,000 for the establishment of a university and a hospital. The money was to be divided equally between the two. Hopkins envisioned that the medical school and the hospital with interlocking Board of Trustees would be closely connected so that the clinical training of medical students could take place in a working hospital. In his instructions to the Trustees, Hopkins wrote that, "In all your arrangements in relation to this hospital, you will bear constantly in mind that it is my wish and purpose that the institution should ultimately form a part of the medical school of that university for which I have made ample provision by my will...". The Johns Hopkins Hospital would be the first teaching hospital in the United States.

On May 7, 1889, the Hospital's doors opened with gala ceremonies to mark the occasion. Mr. Hopkins himself had stipulated that the Hospital be constructed in east Baltimore and from 1876 to 1889, while conducting the affairs of the Surgeon General's Library in Washington, D.C., John Shaw Billings developed the general plan of the hospital and supervised its construction. Billings' approach was unique in that he designed the first hospital in modern times to accomodate teaching and research as well as patient care.

Henry M. Hurd of Michigan served with distinction as the Hospital's first superintendent. When he retired in 1911 he could look back on a career which combined efficient administration with a strong sympathy for medical teaching and scientific investigation, By the 1930's the Hospital had about 1,000 beds making it the largest in the state of Maryland.

Although the Hospital is a separate corporation governed by its own Board of Trustees, its relationship with the School of Medicine is most intimate. The head of each clinical department of the Hospital is also the professor and director of the corresponding academic department of the School of Medicine.

Scope of the Records

The Archive of The Johns Hopkins Hospital contains a fairly complete picture of the administrative history of that institution. Included are minutes of the major decision making bodies of the Hospital, and supportive papers such as committee reports , budgets, letters and memoranda. There is some correspondence and financial data from the superintendent's office, patient log books and department statistical ledgers . A special feature of the collection is a set of drawings, and construction diaries. There is also a significant group of Hospital photographs and official publications.

Record Group 1. Founding Documents

The small record group focuses on John Shaw Billings' contribution to the building of the Hospital. Included is a book of essays which Billings edited on the construction, organization and management of hospitals and Billings' own writings on his then revolutionary views of medical education. In addition, there is a program of the May 1889 opening ceremonies and a letter to Henry Hurd appointing him Hospital Superintendent.

Record Group 2. Records of Governance

The Board of Trustees, the Medical Board and the Executive Committee are the major administrative bodies of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Taken together the minutes of these bodies along with the accompanying supporting papers provide a complete picture of the decision making process at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Particularly valuable are the supporting papers which not only include copies of many committee reports, but also original letters and documents. For example, the early minutes of the Board of Trustees contain some original letters and memos from Henry Hurd and other members of the medical faculty and staff.

Record Group 3. Office of the Superintendent

These are records of the chief administrative officer of the Hospital. For the early period, the volume of records is not extensive since much of the Superintendent's most important correspondence may be found with the supporting papers of the minutes of the Board of Trustees. The records that have survived include some business correspondence and early financial statements. The Superintendent's Annual Report prints the statistical state of the Hospital in full. Records of later Directors and Presidents can be found in their personal paper collections.

The official title of the chief administrative officer of the Hospital has changed several times since 1889. The President of the Johns Hopkins University Daniel C. Gilman was appointed by the Board of Trustees of the Johns Hopkins Hospital to be its Director from February to July 1889 in order to organize the Hospital and preside over its May opening. After the opening, the Board of Trustees appointed Henry M. Hurd to serve as Superintendent of the Hospital and relieved Gilman of his administrative responsibilities for the hospital. In 1920 the title of the office changed to Director. In 1958 the title of Executive Vice President was added to that of Director. In 1963 the title changed to President. When Russell Nelson retired as President of the Hospital in 1972, the President of the Johns Hopkins University, Steven Muller, assumed the title of President of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Robert Heyssel was appointed Executive Vice President and Director of the Hospital and assumed the chief administrative officer role that Nelson had held. In 1983, the title of President of the Hospital was removed from the President of the University and added back to the role of the Director of the Hospital. In 1986 when the Johns Hopkins Health System was created, Robert Heyssel became its President, and Albert Owens took over the role of President and Director of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1988 Heyssel resumed responsibility as the President and Director of the Hospital in addition to his role with the Health System. In 1996 the title of Director of the Hospital was dropped. Ronald Peterson is currently the President of the Johns Hopkins Health System and the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Superintendents/Directors/Presidents of The Johns Hopkins Hospital include:

Record Group 4. Patient Related Records

This record group contains, not patient records per se, but logs of patients admitted to the Hospital and its various departments and the services performed. Combined with the Superintendent's Annual Reports, these ledgers provide an excellent statistical overview of the workings of the Hospital. There is also a visitors' ledger and some clinical charts of military personnel who were treated at the Johns Hopkins Hospital during World War II.

Record Group 5. Departmental Records

For information about departmental records contact the archives staff.

Record Group 6. Architectural Records

This record group contains the original architectural drawings used to construct The Johns Hopkins Hospital. In addition, there are competition drawings or proposed plans which were not used. Finally, there is a series of construction diaries which chronicle the daily progress of the actual building.

Record Group 7. Hopkins Units in World War I and World War II

This record group contains correspondence, manuscripts, appointment books, printed material, scrapbooks and memorabilia from the special Hopkins medical units which served during the First and Second World Wars.

In 1917 the War Department sent Hopkins Base Hospital No. 18 to France to treat battle casualties. During the final fierce days of fighting in September and October 1918 the Hopkins Unit worked around the clock providing primary surgical care. During World War II Hopkins had two units both of which served in the Pacific Theatre of the conflict. The 118th General Hospital operated primarily in Australia and the Phillippines. The 18th General Hospital worked in New Zealand, the Fiji Islands and India-Burma Theatre.

Record Group 8. Publications

In this record group are the official publications and reports of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Included are The Johns Hopkins Hospital Bulletin, official annual reports from the superintendent, treasurer's report, staff directories and miscellaneous pamphlets.

Note: Additional materials may have been added to this collection subsequent to the writing of this description. Please check with the archives staff if there are specific materials for which you are searching that are not described here.