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Letter of Johns Hopkins To The Trustees


To Francis T. King, President, and John Garrett, Hon. George W. Dobbin, Galloway Cheston, Thomas M. Smith, William Hopkins, Richard M. Janney, Joseph Merrefield, Francis White, Lewis N. Hopkins, Alan P. Smith and Charles J. M. Gwinn, Trustees of "The Johns Hopkins Hospital".


I have given you, in your capacity of Trustees, thirteen acres of land, situated in the city of Baltimore, and bounded by Wolfe, Monument, Broadway and Jefferson streets, upon which I desire you to erect a Hospital.

It will be necessary to devote the present year to the grading of the surface, to its proper drainage, to the laying out of the grounds, and to the most careful and deliberate choice of a plan for the erection and arrangement of the buildings.

It is my wish that the plan thus chosen shall be one which will permit symmetrical additions to the buildings which will be first constructed, in order that you may ultimately be able to receive four hundred patients; and that it shall provide for a Hospital, which shall, in construction and arrangement, compare favorably with any other institution of like character in this country or in Europe.

It will, therefore, be your duty to obtain the advice and assistance of those, at home and abroad, who have achieved the greatest success in the construction and management of Hospitals.

I cannot press this injunction too strongly upon you, because the usefulness of this charity will greatly depend upon the plan which you may adopt for the construction and arrangement of the buildings. It is my desire that you should complete this portion of your labor during the present year, and be in readiness to commence the building of the Hospital in the spring of 1874.The indigent sick of this city and its environs, without regard to sex, age, or color, who may require surgical or medical treatment, and who can be received into the Hospital without peril to the other inmates, and the poor of this city and state, of all races, who are stricken down by any casualty, shall be received into the Hospital, without charge, for such periods of time and under such regulations as you may prescribe. It shall be your duty to make such division of the sexes and patients among the several wards of the Hospital as will best promote the actual usefulness of the charity.

You will also provide for the reception of a limited number of patients who are able to make compensation for the room and attention they may require. The money received from such persons will enable you to appropriate a larger sum for the relief of the sufferings of that class which I direct you to admit free of charge; and you will thus be enabled to afford to strangers, and to those of your own people who have no friends or relations to care for them in sickness, and who are not objects of charity, the advantages of careful and skilful treatment.

It will be your special duty to secure for the service of the Hospital surgeons and physicians of the highest character and greatest skill.

I desire you to establish in connection with the Hospital a training school for female nurses. This provision will secure the services of women competent to care for the sick in the Hospital wards, and will enable you to benefit the whole community by supplying it with a class of trained and experienced nurses.

I wish the large grounds surrounding the Hospital buildings to be properly enclosed by iron railings, and to be so laid out and planted with trees as to afford solace to the sick and be an ornament to the section of the city in which the grounds are located.

I desire that you should in due season provide for a site and buildings of such description and at such distance from the city as your judgment shall approve, for the reception of convalescent patients. You will be able in this way to hasten the recovery of the sick, and to have always room in the main Hospital buildings for other sick persons requiring immediate medical or surgical treatment.

It is my especial request that the influence of religion should be felt in and impressed upon the whole management of the Hospital; but I desire, nevertheless, that the administration of the charity shall be undisturbed by sectarian influence, discipline or control.

In all your arrangements in relation to the Hospital, you will bear constantly in mind that it is my wish and purpose that the institution shall ultimately form a part of the Medical School of that University for which I have made ample provision by my will.

I have felt it to be my duty to bring these subjects to your particular attention, knowing that you will conform to the wishes which I thus definitely express.

In other particulars I leave your Board to the exercise of its discretion, believing that your good judgment and experience in life will enable you to make this charity a substantial benefit to the community.

I am, very respectfully, your friend,

Johns Hopkins

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©2005 George A. Scheele MD