Baltimore 19th Century Female Philanthropist

Update 2023.11.09 Unfortunately the video clip is no longer available. Wikipedia has a useful history of her life and success at Johns Hopkins and Bryn Mawr.

Mary Elizabeth Garrett by John Singer Sargeant
Mary Elizabeth Garrett by John Singer Sargent

This short video clip (1st of a series on greats in Johns Hopkins history) tells the story of Mary Elizabeth Garrett and her role in the founding of Johns Hopkins Medical School and in its requirement of strong scientific background for entry. She raised the money to open the medical school, insisting that women be considered on the same terms as men.

Mary Elizabeth Garrett was born in Baltimore in 1854, the daughter of the first president of the B & O Railroad Company. She and four of her friends formed a club, the Friday Night. In addition to social outings, they gathered for discussions. The complaint that men had more opportunities bothered them. They didn’t just idly complain. They  founded the Bryn Mawr school for girls in 1885. It’s still in operation.

I come from Baltimore. After high school, I worked at the hospital for months. And even though I received my masters from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, Mary Elizabeth Garrett was a surprise to me. A very pleasant surprise.


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