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Hopkins
Retrospective
1876-Today
  • History and Politics Seminary, Hopkins Hall, Old Campus
    Circa 1887
    History and Politics Seminar, Hopkins Hall, Old Campus
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  • First graduating class of SAIS
    1945
    First graduating class of SAIS
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  • Johns Hopkins Hospital staff in Women's Ward G
    1903
    Johns Hopkins Hospital staff in Women's Ward G
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  • Athletic team bus
    Circa 1885
    Athletic team bus
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  • Epidemiology and basic science classes in the School of Hygiene (later the Bloomberg School of Public Health)
    Circa 1959
    School of Hygiene (later School of Public Health) epidemiology and basic science classes
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  • Bicycle Club
    1983
    Bicycle Club
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  • Peabody Orchestra
    1963
    Peabody Orchestra performance on WBAL-TV
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  • School of Nursing class on surgical dressings
    Circa 1938
    Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing class on surgical dressings
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  • Lacrosse team
    1889
    Lacrosse team
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  • Gilman Hall
    Circa 1920
    Gilman Hall
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  • Students carrying signs and banners at anti-war rally
    Circa 1970
    Students carrying signs and banners at anti-war rally
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  • Scientists at the Applied Physics Laboratory
    Circa 1970
    Scientists at the Applied Physics Laboratory
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  • The Four Doctors
    1907
    The Four Doctors
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  • Chemical Laboratory, Old Campus
    Circa 1900
    Chemical Laboratory, Old Campus
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  • Jam session in dorm room
    1952
    Jam session in dorm room
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  • McCoy Hall residents
    Circa 1983
    McCoy Hall residents
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“[T]he historian strives to show the present to itself by revealing its origin from the past.”
Historian and Johns Hopkins graduate Frederick Jackson Turner (PhD 1890)

JHU is an historic institution in so many ways. In our founding, we defined the model of the American research university, now emulated around the globe. Yet, there is still more to uncover about the how the elements of our one university coalesced and evolved, shaped by and influencing the events and discoveries of the past 138 years. What lessons can we draw from our experience as we look forward to our collective future? I am excited to embark on the Hopkins Retrospective, an initiative to expand our understanding of the history of Hopkins and weave that history into the university experience.

This website will be the virtual home of Hopkins Retrospective. The centerpiece of the project will be a comprehensive history of the university written by our own Professor Stuart “Bill” Leslie. The project will also encompass a range of other initiatives, some of which are underway and others of which will emerge in the months to come. I hope this site will be a place where you can learn more about the book and our initiatives, explore the history of the university in greater depth, and share your stories, pictures and perspectives on the role that you played as part of the history of Johns Hopkins University.

Ronald J. Daniels
Ronald J. Daniels
President, Johns Hopkins University

A History of Our University

About the Book

President Daniels has commissioned Stuart "Bill" Leslie, a longtime professor in the Krieger School's History of Science and Technology Department, to write a comprehensive history of the university. This work, projected for completion in 2018, will cover all divisions of the university, exploring the connections between them and the powerful personalities that shaped them. Watch this space for updates on the book and for details about events that share Leslie's research with the community.

“I'm interested in what impact Johns Hopkins has had on the creation of modern disciplines and higher education in general. I want to show how we got where we are, for better or worse. It's quite a strong story, and I want to do it justice.”

- Stuart "Bill" Leslie
Watch Bill Leslie’s April 2015 talk on “The Hopkins That Might Have Been” and other history-related videos

initiatives

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  • To Rent Homewood
    A Sense of Place: Hidden Stories of the Homewood Campus

    In 2014, students from the Hopkins Program in Museums and Society explored the history of the Homewood campus alongside experts in heritage studies. In a hands-on, exploratory course, they developed "A Sense of Place," a series of ten interpretive signs that highlight locations around campus and explain their significance in Hopkins and Baltimore history. The signs, produced through a partnership with environmental design students at the Maryland Institute College of Art, were installed in September 2014.

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  • Engineering students, 1980s
    The History of Student Life at Johns Hopkins

    The student experience is an integral part of Hopkins history.  The Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives, with the Office of the President, launched an initiative in which students developed the university’s archival holdings on the student experience and produced a digital exhibit on aspects of student life in the university’s history.

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  • surgery
    Hopkins History Checklist

    Want to get your hands on even more Hopkins history? We've compiled a list of ways to explore Hopkins history across our campuses and online. If you complete every item on our checklist, you’re guaranteed to amaze your Blue Jay friends with your newfound knowledge! If you have your own favorite Hopkins history sites that are not on this list, let us know about them so we can share them with the community.

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  • Image donated by JHU alum
    Alumni Archives Project

    What was it like when you were a student at Hopkins?  Student experience is one of the most dynamic aspects of Hopkins’ history and we don’t know nearly enough about it. Students have played a major role in the governance, culture, and trajectory of Hopkins history, and we need your help in improving our documentation of student life. The University Archives is eager to collect materials and memories from former students. 

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  • Image by Flickr user Juliana Luz. CC license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/
    Oral Histories

    The Hopkins Oral History initiative aims to better understand and share the history of the Johns Hopkins University through recording, transcribing, and preserving oral histories with members of the Hopkins community and by making these oral histories available to the public. We also seek to increase visibility and accessibility of existing oral history collections relating to the history of Hopkins that have been collected by various departments. Watch this space for updates as we gather new oral histories and share them here.

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Your Stories

Oral Histories and Materials Contributed by the Hopkins Community | See All Materials

Listen
He said, "Well, Ernie, we thought that that was a bit much, to ask a student, at this point, to ask a white student to room with you. We just felt that that wouldn't be fair to the student, because this is something new, and we're trying to minimize the problems that it might have, so if you don't mind, you will not have a roommate."
Hear Ernest Bates's Story
Watch
Mike Weisfeldt
Mike Weisfeldt on what makes Hopkins Medicine unique
Watch Mike Weisfeldt's Story
Read
wjhu flyer
Hopkins alum Ron Nichols describes working as a WJHU DJ in the late 1960s.
Read Ronald F. Nichols's Story
Listen
Ernest Bates as a student
The First African-American Student in Arts and Sciences
He said, "Well, Ernie, we thought that that was a bit much, to ask a student, at this point, to ask a white student to room with you. We just felt that that wouldn't be fair to the student, because this is something new, and we're trying to minimize the problems that it might have, so if you don't mind, you will not have a roommate."
Ernest Bates
Listen to the full oral history interview
1950s, Alumni, Arts and Sciences, Homewood campus, Student life
Watch
Mike Weisfeldt on what makes Hopkins Medicine unique
Watch the full oral history here
1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, Administration, Alumni, Baltimore, East Baltimore, Faculty, Hospital, School of Medicine
Read
wjhu flyer
WJHU in the 1960s
Ronald F. Nichols

WJHU was a student run radio station broadcasting at an amazing 0.25 watts, 830 on the AM dial, across the Residence Halls. As the only person from Oklahoma enrolled at Hopkins (I referred to myself as "the token Okie"), I joined the WJHU student staff as Cousin Okie. Both semesters, I broadcast at 5:30am MWF an hour and a half show before heading off to freshman chemistry. During second semester, I also picked up a 4pm hour long show immediately before Mr. T (Baird Thompson). My show was an eclectic mix of music - one could hear Ferlin Husky, followed by the Iron Butterfly, followed by Johnny Cash, etc.

I also served as the WJHU record librarian that year. The attached flyer was posted across campus in October 1969. I am now in contact with three other former WJHU DJs who are mentioned on that poster - Russ Jones (Charlie Brown), Lang Sturgeon (Fish), and Baird Thompson (Mr. T).

Story and image contributed in 2014.

1960s, Homewood campus, Student life, User-generated content

Contribute Your History

Donate Material to the University Archives

The Office of the President and the Ferdinand Hamburger Archives are eager to preserve your memories of your experience at the university – events you attended, organizations you were part of, friendships you formed, and anything else that was important to your experience of Johns Hopkins University.

If you have any items you’d like to consider donating to the archives, or a story you'd like to share with us, please click the Submit Materials button below or email Hopkins Retrospective at hopkinsretro@jhu.edu.

Capturing Your Hopkins Experience

We’re interested in collecting and preserving materials that uniquely represent your Hopkins experience:

  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Photographs
  • Diaries
  • Letters
  • Meeting Minutes
  • Oral Histories
  • Other Documents
Submit Materials
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PLEASE NOTE: If you have multiple items you would like to submit at one time or images that are very large in file size, please contact us or submit directly to
Please upload images in JPG, PNG, or GIF format. Files must be less than 3 MB.
If you are sharing a story with us, you may upload a file or type directly in the box below.

image gallery

Featured Materials | See All Materials
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Initiatives Around the University

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  • Lisa Cooper

    From Kelly Miller, the first black Hopkins student in 1887, to Lisa Cooper, renowned physician, researcher, and professor, the black men and women of Johns Hopkins have helped to shape the institution in important ways. This exhibit, co-sponsored by university President Ronald J. Daniels, Johns Hopkins External Affairs and Development and the Johns Hopkins University Black Faculty and Staff Association, features photos of men and women whose stories offer glimpses of the intertwined history of blacks and Johns Hopkins. The display and window images are supported by a website, which includes narratives of the individuals highlighted in the exhibit.

    Since its founding as the first independent, degree-granting institution for research and training in public health, the school has advanced research, education and practice to create population-level solutions to public health problems around the world. The school is planning centennial activities and events throughout the 2015-2016 academic year, including a monthly Lunch and Learn lecture series by school historian Karen Thomas.

  • vase

    What can the collections of the Johns Hopkins University reveal about the history of this institution and the lives and work of its students, faculty, staff and friends? JHU Collections Web offers encounters with diverse artifacts drawn from all corners of the Hopkins universe. It explores the stories of the things made, used and collected here and the meanings they have accumulated over time. Developed by undergraduates in the Program in Museums and Society course "21st Century Approaches to Material Culture," the site continues to grow as new groups of students conduct in-depth studies of works in a rotating series of university collections.

    Phipps Clinic building

    It began with a generous gift, a magnificent building, and a leader with an innovative mission. The building of the Phipps Clinic in 1913 represented a shift in American psychiatry from isolated asylums to providing humane care in a medical clinic attached to a teaching hospital. The beautiful building’s presence next to The Johns Hopkins Hospital made psychiatry visible and a full partner in the medical discovery of the era. Visit the clinic's anniversary website to learn more about its celebrated past, continued cutting edge scientific investigations into the causes of psychiatric illnesses, and the search for better treatments.

  • Applied Physics Laboratory

    Founded on March 10, 1942—just three months after the United States entered World War II—APL was created as part of a federal government effort to mobilize academic resources to address wartime challenges. From its original headquarters in a converted auto dealership to today's expansive Howard County campus, the Applied Physics Laboratory has remained dedicated to keeping our nation safe and doing it in remarkable ways. This online exhibit explores the many innovations the APL has contributed to our national defense and how it continues today to serve as a national resource for technical and scientific knowledge and innovation.

    Medical campus

    The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives is the official archival repository for the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, including the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Its primary objectives are to collect and preserve records and cultural materials critical to the legacy and ongoing operations of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, and to promote access to collections for use as primary resources in research and education.

  • Jim Brady

    The Brady Urological Institute, created through the generosity of James Buchanan Brady (1856-1917), opened on January 21,1915. Urology had existed at the Johns Hopkins Hospital since its founding in 1889, but the founding of the Institute allowed for the organization of a complete clinical and resesarch staff. In the century since its debut, the Institute has served as a leader in the field, pioneering numerous techniques and announcing discoveries that have revolutionized the field of urology. Their centennial website brings together photos, video, and text to tell the story of the Institute's remarkable first hundred years.

    SAIS 1980s

    SAIS Alumni Relations has launched a program designed to capture the history of the school, alumni accomplishments and shared traditions by means of individual interviews, beginning with classes from 1945. Interviews have been conducted with alumni in the Washington, D.C., metro area, and there are plans to reach out to graduates all over the world in years to come. Members of the SAIS community are encouraged to participate and to access the interviews, many of which can be viewed on the SAIS Alumni YouTube channel. Earlier SAIS oral histories can be accessed here.

  • Evergreen Museum and Library

    As teaching museums of a world-renowned university, the Johns Hopkins University Museums contribute to the advancement of scholarship and museum practice by helping to train future art historians, historic preservationists, and museum professionals. They provide curricular support to faculty through their collections, exhibitions, and programs; and offer credit-bearing courses and internships to help meet the university’s academic mission. The museums welcome members of the public to experience their collections and special exhibitions, as well as to enjoy their tours, lectures, and other programs.

    Gilman Hall

    The Ferdinand Hamburger Archives is the official archival repository for the Homewood Campus divisions of the Johns Hopkins University: Central University Administration, Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Carey Business School, G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering, and the School of Education, as well as the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. The archives documents the administrative, scholarly, and cultural life of the university. It is open to the public for research and is actively seeking to acquire records that support its collecting mission.

  • Peabody Archives

    The institutional records of the Peabody Institute, maintained by the Peabody Archives, chronicle Peabody's history and the cultural development of Baltimore and Maryland from the mid-19th century to the present. The records include an extensive archive of recorded Peabody performances—including visiting artists, faculty and student recitals—and a large photographic collection. The archives also maintains the records of performing arts institutions in the Baltimore area, such as the Baltimore Civic Opera, the Harford Opera Company, and the Lyric Theater. Special collections include the personal papers of the Institute's trustees, faculty, and noted musicians and artists.

    Johns Hopkins

    Looking for an overview of Hopkins history, or want to know more about the present-day institution? This page is a good place to start, and connects you to key facts and figures about the university. Another helpful resource is the Undergraduate Admissions page on Hopkins history, which includes more information about our founder, Johns Hopkins. (Why the S in our founder's first name? "Johns" was a family name--the maiden name of his great-grandmother, Margaret Johns, who married Gerard Hopkins in 1700.)

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