Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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HOPKINS, Johns, philanthropist, born in Anne Arundel county, Maryland, 19 May, 1795; died in Baltimore, 24 December, 1873. His parents were Quakers, and their son was trained to a farming life, but received a fair education. At seventeen years of age he went to Baltimore, became a clerk in his uncle's wholesale grocery store, and in a few years accumulated sufficient capital to establish himself in the grocery trade with a partner. Three years later, in 1822, he founded, with his two brothers, the house of Hopkins and Brothers. He rapidly added to his fortune until he had amassed large wealth. Retiring from business as a grocer in 1847, he engaged in banking and railroad enterprises, became a director in the Baltimore and Ohio railroad company, and, in 1855, chairman of its finance committee. Two years afterward, when the company was seriously embarrassed, he volunteered to endorse its notes, and risked his private fortune in its extrication. He was one of the projectors of a line of iron steamships between Baltimore and Bremen, and built many warehouses in the city. In March, 1873, he gave property valued at $4,500,000 to found a hospital which, by its charter, is free to all, regardless of race or color, presented the city of Baltimore with a public park, and gave $3,500,000 to found the Johns Hopkins university, which was first proposed by him in 1867, and was opened in 1876. it embraces schools of law, medicine, science, and agriculture, and publishes the results of researches of professors and students. At his death he left a fortune of $10,000,000, including the sums set apart for the endowment of the university and hospital, which were devised to the trustees in his will.
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