Institutional Records

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The Institutional Records of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Brief History of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine opened its doors for students in 1893. During the previous ten years a top notch faculty had been assembled including Ira Remsen, H. Newell Martin, John Shaw Billings, Franklin P. Mall, William Welch, William Osler, William S. Halsted, and Howard A. Kelly. The latter four in particular dominated the School of Medicine during its formative period.

From the beginning Hopkins set standards which other medical schools followed. Hopkins was the first medical school in the United States to make the college degree a requirement of admission. For the first time all professors in the preclinical branches served on a full-time university basis. Thereafter in medical schools all over the country, medical education became a major concern instead of being largely a proprietary business conducted for profit. Curriculum advances included extensive intern and residency training and the creation of full-time clinical departments. Students at Hopkins became an integral part of the staff of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, learning largely by actual participation in patient care rather than by attendance at lectures. They also participated in research activities in the laboratories and clinics under the supervision of members of the faculty.

Scope of the Records

Many of the important administrative records of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have survived. The School of Medicine Archive includes founding documents, plus records of the chief administrative body of the Medical School, the Advisory Board of the Medical Faculty. In addition, there are extensive records from the Office of the Dean including financial ledgers. While many departmental records have not remained intact, it is important to note that the Medical Archives also collects the personal papers of the faculty and staff of the Medical Institutions. Together the archival records and personal papers present a complete picture of the development of medical education at Hopkins.

Record Group 1. Founding Documents

Johns Hopkins, a Baltimore merchant, bequeathed $7 million for the establishment of a university and hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1867 the University was incorporated and in 1876 instruction began. Between 1876 and 1893 when the Medical School opened, Daniel Coit Gilman, the first president of the Johns Hopkins University, took steps to lay the educational foundation of the School of Medicine. In 1879 Gilman wrote to eminent British medical men to learn their thoughts on improving medical education. From this preliminary medical survey Gilman received letters, reports and publications on medical studies, which he used in developing a strong preliminary medical education course in the undergraduate curriculum.

The opening of the Medical School, delayed because of a lack of funds, would have been forced further into the future had it not been for the efforts of a group of prominent Baltimore women desiring to promote medical education for women in the United States. Led by Mary Elizabeth Garrett who contributed $354,764, they organized a national Women's Fund Campaign and raised $500,000 to guarantee the admission of women to Hopkins. They further insisted that Hopkins establish a medical school of high standards requiring a bachelor's degree representing specific attainments in chemistry, biology, physics, German and French. The Hopkins University Trustees accepted this money with its conditions and immediately prepared to admit the school's first class.

The documents in this record group cover the period between the incorporation of the University and the opening of the Medical School and consist of records of Gilman's Preliminary Medical Survey and the Women's Medical Fund Committee.

Record Group 2. Records of the Advisory Board of the Medical Faculty and Committees

From its opening in 1893, the primary decision making authority at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has been the Advisory Board of the Medical Faculty. It reports to the Trustees of the University and it is in charge of the educational policies of the Medical School. Its membership consists of the heads of the major departments of instruction. The Board has standing committees of the faculty or staff which vary from time to time according to changing functional needs. The Dean of the Medical Faculty is the administrative officer of the Advisory Board.

Record Group 3. Office of the Dean of the Medical Faculty

The principal administrative officer of the School of Medicine is the Dean of the Medical Faculty. The Dean is in charge of academic affairs as well as administrator of the budget. These records include budget ledgers, correspondence and related material. Deans of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine:

Record Group 4. Office of the Registrar

This record group contains records relating directly to students at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. These include applications for admission, examination records, class standings and grades, and student records from the class of 1897 through the class of 1989.

Record Group 5. Academic Departments

This record group contains records of a few of the many academic departments of the Medical School. Unfortunately, most of these records have not survived intact. Since many of the departments were directed by the same individuals over a long period of years, much of the history of the various departments may be found in the personal papers of the early medical faculty/hospital staff.

Record Group 6. Publications

This record group contains the catalogues of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine from the founding dates to the present. In addition, there is a bound volume of Reports of the Dean of the Medical Faculty, 1929-1953 and other miscellaneous pamphlets relating to the Medical School.

This series contains pamphlets relating to medical education in general and Hopkins in particular. Included are Henry Acland, "Medical Education", 1879; Simon Flexner, "The Education and Organization of the University Clinic." 1939; a government report on the status of medical education, 1957; the class of 1915's 25th reunion, 1940; a list of Henry Strong Denison scholars and their articles, 1937-1969; a book commemorating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the medical school; pamphlets by the half-century committee on the history of The Johns Hopkins University; a brochure on the Johns Hopkins building program, 1925; miscellaneous reprints from the medical faculty arranged by department; a ledger of accounts of the Journal of Experimental Medicine covering the period 1897-1905

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.