The Johns Hopkins University Museums mourn the recent passing of Aurelia Garland Bolton, a stalwart supporter who had an exceptionally long history with and fierce devotion to Homewood. 

Aurelia Garland Bolton stands on Homewood Museum’s South Portico, having just cut the green ribbon at the museum’s 25th Anniversary Celebration in 2012.

A lifetime lover of historic properties and the decorative arts who spent nearly four decades as Sotheby’s representative for Baltimore and the Eastern Shore, Aurelia’s connection to Homewood began during childhood, when her father, Charles Garland, Sr., later an influential chairman of the university’s board of trustees, would take his family on evening strolls through the Hopkins campus, and young Aurelia enjoyed peeking through the house’s windows. “I thought Homewood was just the prettiest house,” she recalled in 2017.  

In the 1980s, she founded the Homewood Restoration Advisory Council and served as its first president while the house was restored and furnished to open as a museum in 1987. Later, she twice served as chairperson of the Homewood Museum Advisory Board.

In 2009, she, along with Hershel L. Seder and the France-Merrick Foundation, seeded money for the Nan Pinkard-Aurelia Bolton Internship, an annual summer internship at Homewood that allows Hopkins undergraduates to conduct specialized research into the house’s history and collections.  

To honor her, two paintings by British landscape painter William Groombridge (1748-1811) were purchased for Homewood in 2013 and, as a surprise, dedicated to her at that year’s Harvest Ball fundraiser.  

While her connection to Homewood may have predated all others, she provided passionate advocacy to many causes and local institutions. In 1975, she joined the Johns Hopkins University’s Board of Trustees, following in her father’s footsteps and breaking new ground as one of the first women on the board. She remained a trustee emeritus until her death.

“I have thought frequently of Aurelia since her passing,” remarked Lori Beth Finkelstein, director of the JHU Museums. “I keep returning to how fortunate we are at the JHU Museums to have had the benefit of her deep institutional knowledge of Hopkins and her longstanding commitment to the histories and legacies of both Homewood and Evergreen. It was an honor and a pleasure to have met Aurelia and hear her fond memories of the museums; I know my colleagues feel the same way.”

To read more about Aurelia’s remarkable and philanthropic life, click here for her Baltimore Sun obituary.