Happy Birthday Johns!

On May 13, 2015, it was my privilege to speak at the annual birthday celebration held for our founder at Clifton, his country estate. Clifton was given to the University in Johns Hopkins’ will, but the trustees sold it to the city in 1895. Since then, a public golf course has been built around the […]


Cavalcade of America

Prior to the advent of television, radio was king of broadcast media. Families of at least modest means in the 1930s would gather around their radio set listening to news programs and entertainment. While music and sports were popular, dramatic presentations were considered the epitome of broadcast. The Lone Ranger was a well-known radio drama […]


What are we commemorating on Commemoration Day?

On February 22, 1876, Daniel Coit Gilman was formally inaugurated as the first President of The Johns Hopkins University. It was a matter of solemn ceremony, with addresses from Harvard President Charles Eliot, as well as from Gilman himself. Gilman’s Inaugural Address has been published and re-published over the years, and remains a monument to […]


Who Was Milton S. Eisenhower?

Most people at Hopkins are familiar with the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, part of the Sheridan Libraries. And most people have heard the name Eisenhower in connection with a US President. But who was Milton S. Eisenhower? Milton Stover Eisenhower, born September 15, 1899, was the fifth son of David and Ida Eisenhower. His older […]


Henry Augustus Rowland

When Daniel Coit Gilman was named president of The Johns Hopkins University in 1875, the trustees left the matter of recruiting faculty in his hands. With an eye to the future, Gilman sought to fill the ranks with “young scholars of promise,” likely to become important figures in their fields. Gilman solicited recommendations far and […]


Happy Birthday, Johns!

On May 19, 1795, Johns Hopkins was born in Anne Arundel County, the second of eleven children of Samuel and Hannah (Janney) Hopkins. His parents, members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), raised tobacco and owned slaves, who tended the cash crop. In 1807, as part of the movement to abolish the slave trade, the […]


Hopkins Retrospective

Did you know there is a Tumblr site devoted to promoting Hopkins history? Leading up to Alumni Weekend on April 11-13, we will be posting photographs with captions commemorating earlier classes, particularly the Classes of 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009. These photos will come from the yearbooks and […]


Ira Remsen, Professor of Chemistry

Have you ever felt pressure to follow a career path favored by your parents, rather than studying what you really enjoy? Ira Remsen did both – but not at the same time. Born February 10, 1846, in New York City, of Dutch and Huguenot ancestry, Remsen was educated in public schools. He then attended the College […]


James Joseph Sylvester

When James Joseph Sylvester came to The Johns Hopkins University in 1876, he was the most senior of the original faculty, in terms of age and prior accomplishments. The university’s first professor of mathematics, Sylvester had already had a full career in both academia and business. Alternately brilliant and erratic, warm and irascible, benevolent and […]


Robert Layfield, 1897-1915

I’m willing to bet that very few reading this have ever heard of Robert Layfield. There are no buildings named for him and no monument to his accomplishments. He wasn’t wealthy, he made no mark in academia, and he died at the age of eighteen, during his freshman year at Johns Hopkins. But he holds […]