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The Johns Hopkins Collection

Mr. Johns Hopkins
  • Creator: Hopkins, Johns (1795 - 1873)

  • Collection Date: 1883, 1900, 1918

  • Extent: 0.25 linear feet

Johns Hopkins
by Thomas C. Corner
oil on canvas, 100 by 58 inches, 1896


Johns Hopkins was born on his family's tobacco plantation, Whitehall, in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and came to Baltimore when he was seventeen to work with his uncle in the wholesale grocery business. He soon learned the trade and later established, along with three of his brothers, the firm Hopkins Brothers. When he had accumulated sufficient capital, he moved into banking, and in time became the leading financier in Baltimore. He invested in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and its stock became the base of his wealth.

In his will, Hopkins made provisions that his fortune be used for the benefit of others. After bequests to family and servants amounting to about one million dollars, there remained approximately seven million dollars to endow a university, a hospital, and a medical school, all to be linked. In 1867, he selected twelve individuals to serve as trustees of a corporation called the Johns Hopkins University, whose purpose was to promote education in the state of Maryland. Likewise, a board was formed for the incorporation of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. To ensure the linking of the institutions, he named the same people to the boards to establish the university and hospital. Just before his death in 1873 Hopkins wrote a letter to the board of trustees of the hospital. In it he outlined his intent for the medical institutions: "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."

Hopkins Affiliations

1867 - 1873 Johns Hopkins Hospital
1867 - 1873 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Scope and Content

The Johns Hopkins Collection contains four items. The first is an original printed edition of the will of Johns Hopkins. The second is a brown manilla envelope labeled "Bank Shares" and the following inscribed: "This was the envelope used by Johns Hopkins & the above is his own writing. Johns C. Thomas March 14th 1918." The third item is a copy of Some Colonial Ancestors of Johns Hopkins (1900) by Miles White, Jr. The final item is a newspaper article from 1883 regarding the acquisition of the Hopkins Trust. Larger collections of Johns Hopkins' papers can be found in the special collections division of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library and in the Ferdinand Hamburger Archives, both located on the Johns Hopkins University School of Arts and Sciences campus.

Policy on Access and Use

This collection may contain some restricted records. Materials pertaining to patients, students, employees, and human research subjects, as well as unprocessed collections and recent administrative records, carry restrictions on access. For more information about the policies and procedures for access, see Policy on Access and Use.

Permissions and Credits

When citing material from this collection, credit The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. For permission to reproduce images, contact the holder of the copyright.

For permissions:
archives at jhmi dot edu.