The leading spirit behind the founding of the Johns Hopkins Club was the historian Herbert Baxter Adams. Devoted to the idea of research scholarship, Adams was nevertheless aware of the isolation that could afflict graduate students, concentrating as they must upon the rigorous pursuit of a specialty. He had visited the Yale Graduates Club in New Haven and had been favorably impressed by the social values of such an enterprise. He hoped to provide a comparable facility for the Hopkins community. Hence it was that he arose during the course of the Alumni Association meeting of February 2, 1899, and urged the creation of a new social club whose membership would be drawn from alumni, graduate students and faculty.
Noting the existence of the University Club in Baltimore, and recognizing its usefulness, he questioned that it met the needs of Hopkins alumni and graduate students. Dr. Adams’ suggestion was approved and an “organization committee” composed of two faculty members, two graduate students and three alumni was appointed and instructed to explore the possibility of providing such a facility. The committee circulated a letter proposing the establishment of a club whose annual fees would be $10 for resident members and $5 for non-resident alumni. Expressions of interest were immediately forthcoming and a gratifying number of applications were received.
The Johns Hopkins Club was therefore officially organized in December 1899, with 260 charter members. Dr. Joseph Sweetman Ames, then a professor of physics, was chosen as the Club’s first president and a temporary if somewhat inconveniently located home was provided in a rental dwelling at 706 St. Paul Street. It was there that the Club first opened its doors to members on January 27, 1900.
Several events have led us to our current home where we have proudly served our membership since 1937.
In 1936, a $50,000 memorial fund given by Theodore Marburg, a University trustee, and his sister Amelia Marburg was allotted for construction of our current structure which has been added to and improved upon continuously.
A century later, the Club is home to over 2,500 members comprised of faculty, alumni and associate members. It is a bustling gathering place for faculty luncheons, a traditional meeting place for University receptions and dinners, and a home to our members for such milestones as wedding receptions, Bar Mitzvahs, birthdays and anniversaries. We are part of our members’ family histories; families who have helped create this Grand Tradition.