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.”
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.
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.
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.
Hopkins and the Great War
In September 2016, we begin a multi-campus exploration of 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. Visit the exhibits, attend events, and 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."
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 email@example.com.
We’re interested in collecting and preserving materials that uniquely represent your Hopkins experience:
- Meeting Minutes
- Oral Histories
- Other Documents
Circa 1885Athletic team busJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 04150
Circa 1920Merrick BarnJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 0001
1950Paul Harper with Sushila NayarItem 172302, Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives
1992Rugby teamPrivate collection of Scott L. Haag
Circa 1874Interior view, Peabody Institute, BaltimorePeabody Archives
1997Bert Vogelstein and Ken Kinzler in laboratoryItem 181686, Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives
1927Peabody Conservatory Class of 1927Peabody Archives
Circa 1890Administration Building, Old CampusJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 04272
Circa 1900Johns Hopkins Hospital (postcard)Item 147801, Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives
Circa 1930Student reading in Alumni Memorial Residences dorm roomJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 00721
1945First graduating class of SAISSchool of Advanced International Studies photograph collection
Circa 1887Johns HopkinsJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 02189
1918Johns Hopkins Hospital Nurses in World War I, wearing gas masksItem 105002, Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives
1984SAIS Students after running a raceSchool of Advanced International Studies photograph collection
1982Abel WolmanJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 14224
1920The Black and Blue JayJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives
Circa 1930Gilman Hall, Hutzler Reading RoomJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 00801
Circa 1920Kelly MillerJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 06302
Circa 1980Peabody voice teacher Elaine Bonazzi and studentPeabody Archives
Circa 1970Student anti-war rallyJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item 10931
Circa 1915Maryland HallJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives photograph collection, item #00258
Circa 1922School of Public Health student group The UbiquiteersBloomberg School of Public Health photograph collection
1983Bicycle ClubJohns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries, Ferdinand Hamburger University Archives, RG14.030
1969WJHU flyerPrivate collection of Ron Nichols
discover More Hopkins History
Initiatives Around the University
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.
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 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.
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 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. 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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Please send us your comments, questions and stories.
- Hopkins and the Great War Exhibit Opening: Homewood Campus
- Sep 14
- Brody Learning Commons, Room 4040
Join us to celebrate the opening of the multi-campus exhibition Hopkins and the Great War. Dr. Alice Kelly, Women in the Humanities Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, will discuss The Backwash of War, the graphic and controversial memoir of Hopkins nurse Ellen La Motte, and its place in the broader context of First World War literature and the wartime avant-garde. A reception will follow, and attendees will have the opportunity to view the exhibit and meet the curators.