1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Johns Hopkins University

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JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY, an American educational institution at Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. Its trustees, chosen by Johns Hopkins (1794-1873), a successful Baltimore merchant, were incorporated on the 24th of August 1867 under a general act “for the promotion of education in the state of Maryland.” But nothing was actually done until after the death of Johns Hopkins (Dec. 24, 1873), when his fortune of $7,000,000 was equally divided between the projected university and a hospital, also to bear his name, and intended to be an auxiliary to the medical school of the university. The trustees of the university consulted with many prominent educationists, notably Charles W. Eliot of Harvard, Andrew D. White of Cornell, and James B. Angell of the university of Michigan; on the 30th of December 1874 they elected Daniel Coit Gilman (q.v.) president. The university was formally opened on the 3rd of October 1876, when an address was delivered by T. H. Huxley. The first year was largely given up to consultation among the newly chosen professors, among whom were — in Greek, B. L. Gildersleeve; in mathematics, J. J. Sylvester; in chemistry, Ira Remsen; in biology, Henry Newell Martin (1848-1896); in zoology, William Keith Brooks (1848-1908); and in physics, Henry Augustus Rowland (1848-1901). Prominent among later teachers were Arthur Cayley in mathematics, the Semitic scholar Paul Haupt (b. 1858), Granville Stanley Hall in psychology, Maurice Bloomfield in Sanskrit and comparative philology, James Rendel Harris in Biblical philology, James Wilson Bright in English philology, Herbert B. Adams in history, and Richard T. Ely (b. 1854) in economics. The university at once became a pioneer in the United States in teaching by means of seminary courses and laboratories, and it has been eminently successful in encouraging research, in scientific production, and in preparing its students to become instructors in other colleges and universities. It includes a college in which each of five parallel courses leads to the degree of Bachelor of Arts, but its reputation has been established chiefly by its other two departments, the graduate school and the medical school. The graduate school offers courses in philosophy and psychology, physics, chemistry and biology, historical and economic science, language and literature, and confers the degree of Doctor of Philosophy after at least three years' residence. From its foundation the university had novel features and a liberal administration. Twenty annual fellowships of $500 each were opened to the graduates of any college. Petrography and laboratory psychology were among the new sciences fostered by the new university. Such eminent outsiders were secured for brief residence and lecture courses as J. R. Lowell, F. J. Child, Simon Newcomb, H. E. von Holst, F. A. Walker, William James, Sidney Lanier, James Bryce, E. A. Freeman, W. W. Goodwin, and Alfred Russel Wallace. President Gilman gave up his presidential duties on the 1st of September 1901, Ira Remsen[1] succeeding him in the office. The medical department, inaugurated in 1893, is closely affiliated with the excellently equipped Johns Hopkins Hospital (opened in 1889), and is actually a graduate school, as it admits only students holding the bachelor's degree or its equivalent. The degree of Doctor of Medicine is conferred after four years of successful study, and advanced courses are offered. The department's greatest teachers have been William Osler (b. 1849) and William Henry Welch (b. 1850).

The buildings of the university were in 1901 an unpretentious group on crowded ground near the business centre of the city. In 1902 a new site was secured, containing about 125 acres amid pleasant surroundings in the northern suburbs, and new buildings were designed in accordance with a plan formed with a view to secure harmony and symmetry. In 1907 the library contained more than 133,000 bound volumes. Among the numerous publications issued by the university press are: American Journal of Mathematics, Studies in Historical and Political Science, Reprint of Economic Tracts, American Journal of Philology, Contributions to Assyriology and Semitic Philology, Modern Language Notes, American Chemical Journal, American Journal of Insanity, Terrestrial Magnetism and Atmospheric Electricity, Reports of the Maryland Geological Survey, and Reports of the Maryland Weather Service. The institution is maintained chiefly with the proceeds of the endowment fund. It also receives aid from the state, and charges tuition fees. Its government is entrusted to a board of trustees, while the direction of affairs of a strictly academic nature is delegated to an academic council and to department boards. In 1907-1908 the regular faculty numbered 175, and there was an enrolment of 683 students, of whom 518 were in post-graduate courses.

On the history of the university see Daniel C. Gilman, The Launching of a University (New York, 1906), and the annual reports of the president.


  1. Ira Remsen was born in New York City on the 10th of February 1846, graduated at the college of the City of New York in 1865, studied at the New York college of physicians and surgeons and at the university of Göttingen, was professor of chemistry at Williams College in 1872-1876, and in 1876 became professor of chemistry at Johns Hopkins University. He published many textbooks of chemistry, organic and inorganic, which were republished in England and were translated abroad. In 1879 he founded the American Chemical Journal.