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Book and Media Reviews
October 3, 2012

Leading the Way: A History of Johns Hopkins Medicine

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: John L. Zeller, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

Author Affiliations: Departments of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (porterd@dahsm.ucsf.edu).

JAMA. 2012;308(13):1379-1380. doi:10.1001/jama.308.13.1379

As Neil Grauer admits, an exhaustive history of Johns Hopkins Medicine is almost impossible. Nevertheless, Grauer provides an admirable and comprehensive account of the evolution of one of the most distinguished academic medical centers in the world.

Grauer provides the reason why visionary innovation is embedded in the culture of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Put simply, this institution was founded by a brilliantly creative imagination. Johns Hopkins was the second of 11 children born to Maryland Quaker tobacco plantation owners Samuel and Hannah Janney Hopkins. Hopkins made his fortune initially by accepting moonshine as payment for groceries from Maryland farmers and then rebottling and selling it, making what he claimed was $200 000 in his first year of business. More than a decade before he died in 1878, Hopkins petitioned the Maryland legislature to establish 2 corporations, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and The Johns Hopkins University. In his will, Hopkins left virtually his entire fortune of $7 million—which, Grauer suggests, is estimated to be worth $11 billion in contemporary times—for the funding of these 2 corporations.

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