Cavalcade of America

02181-Hopkins-1200dpiPrior 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 (later a favorite on television), and there were comedy programs such as Abbott and Costello. People listened to their radio and used their imaginations to illustrate what they could not see.

One program prominent in the 1930s and 1940s was Cavalcade of America. This series, on radio from 1935 to 1953 before moving to television, presented episodes on history and biography. “The Declaration of Independence” and “The Constitution of the United States” were dramatic re-enactments surrounding the adoption of those documents. Biographies focused on individuals who were not well-known but still important figures. Johns Hopkins was one of those subjects and on May 26, 1941, Cavalcade of America featured a half-hour drama on our founder.

This episode begins with a family discussion in 1807, where Samuel Hopkins, Johns’ father, announces his intention to free their slaves who worked the family’s tobacco fields in Anne Arundel County. Johns, then twelve years old, is dismayed because this means he, along with the older siblings, will have to leave school to take over in the tobacco fields. Johns throws a tantrum and declares that he will overcome this obstacle and become rich and famous.

I found this episode to be poor history in many respects. Because little remains of Johns’ personal papers, we do not know what was said or how individuals felt about events, so some degree of literary license must be allowed. This program, however, presents Johns, from the age of twelve until near his death, as a bitter, spiteful man seeking vengeance on society and everyone who wronged him. This does not square with firsthand accounts of nieces and nephews and their children, to whom Johns was a kindly uncle who indulged them during their visits to his home. Johns was known to entertain lavishly, sparing no expense for the comfort and enjoyment of his guests.

Two events depicted near the end of the program are simply wrong. Johns is portrayed as suffering from cholera late in life, and at the end of the drama, he collapses and dies in his cousin’s arms, immediately after finishing plans to found a university and a hospital, having finally overcome his bitterness. That probably played well on radio, but it’s not the truth. He survived cholera as a young man, and incorporated The Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Hospital in August 1867, six years before his death. He died from pneumonia late on Christmas Eve 1873, peacefully in bed attended by his physician, his dog Zeno, and family members. His experience with cholera decades earlier may well have influenced his decision to found a hospital.

Cavalcade of America is made available through the Internet Archive, and I encourage those interested to have a look and listen. Keep in mind that, if these programs were modern television presentations, they would bear the disclaimer, “dramatic re-creation.” As entertainment, the episode on Hopkins is interesting; as history, not so much. If you wish to listen to the episode on Johns Hopkins, scroll to number 218 in the program list.

There are, unfortunately, few biographical sources on our founder longer than an encyclopedia article. The only book-length biography is Helen Hopkins Thom’s Johns Hopkins: A Silhouette (1929; reprinted 2009). An excellent biographical article appeared in a 1974 issue of Johns Hopkins Magazine by Kathryn Jacob, entitled “Mr. Johns Hopkins.”

I read it in the News-Letter

MSELdedicationYou all read the JHU News-Letter every week, right? How else are you going to keep up with student affairs on campus? But did you know that the News-Letter has been published since 1897? While you could previously look at the paper copy of any issue by coming to the Brody Learning Commons, now you are going to get the chance to sample many older editions of the paper online. The Ferdinand Hamburger Archives has recently digitized about 200 issues from the 1960s to the 1990s and has plans to do the entire run. Following is a sample of some of the cool things you can find there.

One thing that really stands out is just how Mad Men the campus was in earlier days. There are four cigarette ads in the December 1, 1961 issue, including one on page 8 that asks the question, "Is it wrong for a faculty member to date a coed?". Booze was also part of the JHU experience as you can see several liquor ads in the issue of November 21, 1986.

The News-Letter has always done well in reporting on cultural activities on campus. Did you know the Ramones played on campus in 1982? And Joan Baez lit up Shriver Hall in 1962 (and she is still going strong!). For a different aspect of culture, read about chess champion Boris Spassky defeating 26 players simultaneously in the Glass Pavillion in 1987. And, of course, lacrosse is always well covered. Check out current Blue Jay coach Dave Pietramala in his playing days (see page 4 of the LAX Special).

Hopkins students have always been serious about the big issues of the day. During the Civil Rights movement, JHU students participated in sit-ins at local restaurants to protest the fact that African Americans were not served (see page 3). This helped lead to integration of restaurants and other public facilities. Important people in the news like President Lyndon Johnson have regularly appeared on campus. The Student Council has often debated controversial issues like the US military involvement in El Salvador in 1981 (see page 3 for the story and don't miss the picture of President Michael Steele, a later Lt. Governor of Maryland).

Enjoy reading accounts of Hopkins history as it happened. But don't get too depressed over reports of $11,000 per year tuition. Those days are long gone.

JHU Alumni — Mythbusters Just for You!

You've graduated: congratulations!

How does your new status affect how you can use the library? Here is information that will help you.

You can enter the library IF

  • you show the guard some form of photo ID (e.g., driver's license, passport, ID from another institution of higher ed,...)

You can borrow our books IF

You can access our online resources IF

  • you come to campus and use a Hopkins computer

You can remotely access selected electronic resources IF

For information about your RefWorks account,

  • Look at the box called "Leaving Hopkins?" (on the left of this page of the Refworks Guide)

For more information about all of this, please read our guide entitled "Information for Alumni."

Have a wonderful future!

Looking Back: The Class of 1915

By Rachel Shavel, A&S '18, Hopkins Retrospective Student Assistant

Class of 1915 poses on the steps of McCoy Hall on the old Hopkins campus in downtown Baltimore.
University Archives Photograph Collection.

We here at Hopkins Retrospective love throwbacks—it’s what we do best! With graduation on the horizon, we thought we’d provide you with the ultimate 100-year throwback post. Welcome to Hopkins in 1915: a Hopkins with no Internet, no cell phones, and no undergraduate women. A world in which students describe Psychology I as “much ado about nothing” and a Baltimore tailor advertises made-to-order suits for $20 in the yearbook. Needless to say, hundred-year ago Hopkins was certainly a very different place.

With a graduating class of about 35 students, the Class of 1915 was accustomed to a much more intimate Hopkins than we know today. Each graduating senior was granted the privilege of having a yearbook page published about him by the yearbook editors, describing him and his time at Hopkins. Here are some of the things the editors felt it was most important for you, the future of Johns Hopkins University, to know about members of the Class of 1915:

“You always see and smell the pipe first, then you hear Mose.”

“For some unaccountable reason every chair he [Wilmer Brinton Jr.] sits in begins to squeak.”

“During the Reign of Terror (i.e., when we studied Physics) he [Frank Ebaugh] used to dart around like a wild antelope.”

Aside from the Class of 1915’s cheeky humor (which is undoubtedly shared by our very own Class of 2015), other notable facts are that they were the first class to have Hopkins-issued engineering degrees and the first to have a class photo taken on the brand-new Homewood campus. Their yearbook included architect’s drawings of the buildings in progress and still to be built at Homewood. Engineering students had already made the move from the downtown campus, but Arts & Sciences students and university administration would not move until the following year.

In order to be admitted to Hopkins, students had to demonstrate sufficient knowledge in math, English, history, Latin, Greek (or two modern languages) as well as physical botany or a similar science and freehand drawing in order to gain admission. Certainly a little different from the SAT testing we all know and love now! Perhaps even less familiar to the modern Hopkins student was the Class of 1915’s exiting tuition charge– a whopping $150 per year.

We see how much things have changed, and yet we can only imagine what the Class of 2115 will find fascinating about you in 100 years. Congratulations to our Class of 2015 graduates!

Interested in learning more about campus history or graduating classes? We recommend the following resources:

Thesis and Dissertation Update

As Commencement 2015 gets closer, we thought it was time for an update on the JHU electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) program. We originally announced the program in June 2013, and we have been operational since September 1 of that year. Based on feedback from many graduate students, it has proven to be a popular program. If you will be submitting a thesis or dissertation in the next few months, please see our ETD guide for all the formatting requirements and submission procedure.

In case you have not been aware of the requirements, all doctoral dissertations and most masters theses are now submitted as PDF/a files to the library rather than as bound paper documents. We then make the research available to the public via JScholarship, the JHU institutional repository. Students have the option to withhold publication for up to four years via an embargo function. You can now view unembargoed dissertations and theses for all semesters between fall 2013 and fall 2014. We will be adding spring 2015 documents sometime in June. You can still find older theses and dissertations in the library catalog and in the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database.

If you are interested in early, hand-written JHU dissertations, take a look at our collection at the Internet Archive. Hopkins students produce a lot of research that is disseminated via theses and dissertations. In the nearly two years we have been receiving ETDs, we have approved over 850 dissertations and 325 theses! The numbers vary greatly by school, but Public Health is the clear winner (at least in size):

  • 25% come from Public Health
  • 20% each come from Arts & Sciences and Medicine
  • 17% come from Engineering
  • The remainder are split among the other schools and programs

Stay tuned to see if these numbers spark some healthy competition among the schools!

Research Remix: They Came From Ocular Space!


Artwork by Monica Amneus

What if artists and researchers got together to talk, and then the artists created art based on the science and engineering and medicine that they heard about from the researchers?

Welcome to Research Remix, another amazing project from your friends at the Digital Media Center.

  • Where: Ground floor of the Mattin Center Offit Building
  • When: Open through Friday, May 15

This combination of visual art and academic research is a stunning array of beautiful and imaginative works. One of my favorites was the scene that was inspired by Stephen Hamilton's research on fluid dynamics.

Sometime stop by the DMC to use the 3D printer and the audio studio and the video games. (This was their entry into the Kinetic Sculpture Race.)

The exhibit is open through the rest of this week; treat yourself and go take a look.

What’s New on C Level?

Your favorite bricks-and-mortar location for science, engineering, and medicine -- that's C Level, of course -- has made some changes. Let's discuss.

I went to the shelf where I always find the books that I use, but they weren’t there. What happened?

  • The books on C Level have been shifted -- we spread them out so that there aren't any more tight spots.

Then how do I find the things that I want?

  • When you look up the book in the library catalog, you'll see a little map that shows you where a book is located.
  • Also, on C Level, on top of the first short shelf, there's a map that shows the call number ranges.

 The Science Reference section looks great! What did you do?

  • Thanks for noticing! Your science and engineering librarians pulled out the stuff that was old or wasn’t heavily used, and then shifted everything that was left so that it’s all easier to find.

There are some shelves of  books in the back of the room that weren’t there before.

By the way, why is there a big empty place on the floor behind the elevators?

After the big shift, there were lots of empty shelves, and they're going away. Then the floor there will be cleaned and waxed, and new wooden individual carrels will be put in. The project will start in June and be done by mid-July.

End of Semester Survival Guide

Don't let finals get you down - the library can help. What you probably need most is a place to study - we've got you covered with study areas galore: quiet spaces for you to hunker down and get to work, and collaborative study areas for you to work on projects, or meet with your study group. You can reserve group study rooms in MSE and BLC online for up to four hours.

We have people and equipment to get you through the next few days too. Your librarians are right here with you - don't forget there are many ways you can get help from them, in person, online, or even from your phone. Tech Help is available in person and over the phone, and the printers, copiers and scanners are hot and running 24/7. Just don't wait until right before your paper is due to print it out - you never know when there will be a paper jam, ink runs out, or you forgot to put money on your J-card.

Don't forget to take some breaks, relax, get some sleep, and stay active. Taking care of your body and mind is especially important when you're working so hard. It's worth it to get some sun (but not too much!) take a walk to clear your head, and eat proper meals. Living on energy drinks and power bars even if only for a week isn't a great idea. Taking care of yourself this week will set you up for success.

We have put together a full survival guide to help you get through the next few days. Good luck!

End of Semester Survival Guide

Click here for a text-only version of the survival guide.

Updated library hours

mselangleThe library (MSE and BLC) will be open from 7:30 AM until 9:00 PM until further notice. Please remember that the citywide 10 PM curfew remains in effect, and please continue to check the university's emergency alert page for updates.

JHU Faculty & Staff: Join a Timely, Relevant Discussion with TILE – Tuesday, 4pm

What we do in the classroom impacts what happens in the real world. Join the Toolkit for Inclusive Learning Environments, TILE, for a thoughtful discussion on classroom practices that can make lasting changes on how students perceive and communicate with the world.

Funded by a Diversity Innovation Grant (DIG) of the Diversity Leadership Council (DLC), TILE is a growing resource for instructional faculty and staff that works to provide and support inclusive practices in the classroom. Sharing diverse perspectives and validating students’ and minorities’ varied experiences is a challenge for many faculty. Even those with the best intentions may unwittingly create classroom environments where students from minority communities feel uncomfortable or excluded. However, when executed effectively, an inclusive classroom becomes a layered and rich learning environment that not only engages students, but creates more culturally competent citizens.

TILE held its first session in March, providing examples and sparking discussion. The second session will be held Tuesday, May 5th from 4-5:30pm in the Macksey Room of the Brody Learning Commons, and you are invited! Registration is encouraged at the website, where you can also submit an example if you would like to share. You can use and read all about the examples shared at the first session on the Center for Educational Resources' website, where the final repository will eventually be held. Refreshments will be served. See you there!

To explore the topic before the session, The Center for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL), of which Johns Hopkins is a member, has some excellent diversity resources on its website, including a literature review, case studies, and a resource book for new instructors.

Questions and ideas can be routed to anyone on the TILE team. Project collaborators are Demere Woolway, Director of LGBTQ Life; Shannon Simpson, Student Engagement and Information Fluency Librarian, and Macie Hall, Senior Instructional Designer for the Center for Educational Resources, with support from the Sheridan Libraries and Museums Diversity Committee. Most important will be the various lecturers and faculty from across the disciplines who will work with us on developing the toolkit.