Let’s celebrate Johns Hopkins’ birthday by reflecting on his contributions to Maryland’s scientific culture, and also, current efforts to preserve sites of his life, including his childhood home, Whites Hall.


Johns Hopkins (May 19, 1795, Anne Arundel County, Md., U.S.—died Dec. 24, 1873, Baltimore) is best known for his contributions to medicine, as his $7 million donation created the Johns Hopkins University and Hospital. Hopkins spent his career as an entrepreneur and he successfully participated in businesses  and investments in the railroad industry, banking, and shipping.

His Quaker faith also led him to act as an abolitionist and philanthropist. He participated in the emancipation of his family’s slaves when he was merely 12-years old in 1807 and he was passionate about equality. In his will, he stipulated that the hospital bearing his name was required to provide assistance to the poor of all races and that the hospital continue to maintain the orphanage for African American children, which had opened a decade before the hospital. In respect to women’s rights, Hopkins instructed that women be trained as nurses in the hospital.


Johns Hopkins Childhood Home

Despite Johns Hopkins incredible legacy in Maryland, his notoriety did not prevent his childhood home, Whites Hall, in Anne Arundel County from falling into disrepair. Just this January, the current owner applied for a demolition permit for the 18th century home that quickly made news in the preservation community. Preservation Maryland made a statement that demolition was not the only option and offered to assist the developer in finding alternative uses for the property and potential sources of funding for those alternative projects.

Preservation Maryland’s outreach was successful, as the Polm Companies agreed to seek out a qualified preservation buyer for Whites Hall who could rehabilitate and care for the property with continued support from Preservation Maryland.

Our Preservation Month posts were written and prepared by Rachel Rettaliata, one of Preservation Maryland’s Waxter Interns. Rachel’s work with us focuses on communications and advocacy. She is a Fulbright Scholar, and will be attending the historic preservation program at the University of Maryland this fall. Learn more about Rachel and our intern program here: presmd.org/waxter.