Monday, May 23, 2016

Johns Hopkins From Anne Arundel

In regard to your short article of May 19 about Johns Hopkins and the Annearundel Free School in Davidsonville, I offer the following comments. 

Most sources, including the Retired School Personnel group that maintains and shows the Free School, don’t seem certain that Hopkins attended the school.  I see you reflected that uncertainty. I based my article in the January 2015 issue of Davidsonville Country Living on his biography by his niece, Helen Hopkins Thom.  She described the school he attended as at at the headwaters of the South River.  I’ve studied all the maps from the 1800’s that I can access, and found no other school that fits that description, so I’m a bit more certain than most that he did attend Annearundel Free School.

I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully so far) to get in touch with anyone who has contacts in the movie/TV production industry.  There should be a film or high quality mini-series, like the one on John Adams, about the life of Johns Hopkins.  Thom’s biography can provide the material on which to base it.  In addition, the Free School and his childhood home still exist (unless the developers tear down Whitehall.)

This story has so many compelling issues — slavery, love denied fulfillment, the morality of selling whiskey, the birth of the railroad, the obligation of the wealthy to family and society, a will leaving funds to found JHU and the world renowned hospital.  In this Johns Hopkins was way ahead of the times - stipulating that the former must train women and the latter treat all people, regardless of race or ability to pay. 

I am hopeful that one of your readers knows someone in the movie industry and will suggest a production based on Hopkins life to them.  If such a reader exists, I can be contacted at

 Liz Hopkins,  Davidsonville, MD

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