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.
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.”
Digital Exhibits on Hopkins History
Looking to learn more about Hopkins history? The Hopkins Retrospective program has facilitated the creation of online exhibits exploring different aspects of the history of our university. These exhibits, developed by students, archivists, curators, and historians, dig deep into specific aspects of our university's history and bring together historic photographs, documents, and interviews to tell the story of Hopkins in new and exciting ways.
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.
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.
Hopkins and the Great War
In September 2016, we launched a multi-campus program examining World War I's effect on the early 20th century Johns Hopkins community: the Homewood campus; the School of Nursing; the Johns Hopkins Hospital; and the schools of Medicine and Public Health. Explore the comprehensive online exhibit to learn the stories of remarkable individuals as well as the struggles and experiences shared by many in the Hopkins community as they confronted "The War to End All Wars."
Hugh Hawkins Research Fellowships for the Study of Hopkins History
Hugh Hawkins Research Fellowships are awarded annually to undergraduate or graduate students from any school at Johns Hopkins who wish to conduct research into an aspect of the rich history of Johns Hopkins University.
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.
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.
Oral Histories and Materials Contributed by the Hopkins Community | See All Materials
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re interested in collecting and preserving materials that uniquely represent your Hopkins experience:
- Meeting Minutes
- Oral Histories
- Other Documents
Circa 1922School of Public Health student group The UbiquiteersBloomberg School of Public Health photograph collection
Circa 1976School of Public Health Professor Al Sommer in IndonesiaBloomberg School of Public Health photograph collection
Circa 1970Student anti-war rallyJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 10931
Circa 1970Scientists at the Applied Physics LaboratoryJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 05068
Circa 1920Kelly MillerJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 06302
Circa 1958Student Ernest A. BatesJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 14106
1983Bicycle ClubJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives, RG14.030
1946Group Portrait of the JHU BandJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 13921
1918Johns Hopkins Hospital Nurses in World War I, wearing gas masksItem 105002, Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives
Circa 1975SAIS students eating lunchSchool of Advanced International Studies photograph collection
1888Football teamJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 05076
Circa 1890Administration Building, Old CampusJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 04272
1969WJHU flyerPrivate collection of Ron Nichols
1992Rugby teamPrivate collection of Scott L. Haag
Circa 1977Johns Hopkins Hospital escort messengerItem 149004, Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives
Circa 1980Nurse with infant in incubatorItem 185286, Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives
Circa 1930Gilman Hall, Hutzler Reading RoomJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 00801
Circa 1874Interior view, Peabody Institute, BaltimorePeabody Archives
1944Physicians and nurses of 118th General Hospital on beach in the PhilippinesItem 105207, Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives
Circa 1920Aerial view of Homewood campusJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection,item 00828
Circa 1930Student reading in Alumni Memorial Residences dorm roomJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 00721
Circa 1885Athletic team busJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 04150
1982Abel WolmanJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 14224
Circa 1887Johns HopkinsJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 02189
discover More Hopkins History
Initiatives Around the University
In September 2016, we launched a multi-campus program examining World War I's effect on the early 20th century Johns Hopkins community: the Homewood campus; the School of Nursing; the Johns Hopkins Hospital; and the School of Medicine. Explore the comprehensive online exhibit to learn the stories of remarkable individuals as well as the struggles and experiences shared by many in the Hopkins community as they confronted "The War to End All Wars."
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. In addition to physical displays on multiple Hopkins campuses, a website includes narratives of all individuals highlighted in the exhibit.
Since its founding as the first independent, degree-granting institution for research and training in public health, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has advanced research, education and practice to create population-level solutions to public health problems around the world. Explore the school's centennial website to learn more about its remarkable history.
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.
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.
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 website 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The Ferdinand Hamburger University 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.
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.
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.
We want to hear from you.
Please send us your comments, questions and stories.
- Commemoration Day Cupcake Celebration
- Feb 22
- Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Q level
- Happy 142nd birthday, Johns Hopkins University! Please stop by the Q-level of Milton S. Eisenhower Library on February 22 between 12-2 PM to celebrate the inauguration of founding Hopkins president Daniel Coit Gilman on this date in 1876. We'll have cupcakes and beverages, a historic photo display, fun photo ops, and some special giveaways.