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ADVISORY: Graveside Commemoration on Christmas Eve Marks 145th Anniversary Of Johns Hopkins’ Death

December 20, 2018
To: Reporters, editors, producers
From: Dennis O’Shea
dro@jhu.edu | 443-997-9912 (o) | 410-499-7460 (m)

Johns Hopkins employees, alumni, students and friends will attend the annual Christmas Eve graveside observance honoring the founder of the university and health system, Mr. Johns Hopkins.

The brief ceremony will take place at his grave in Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore at 10 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 24. That will be the 145th anniversary of Mr. Hopkins’ death.

The 2017 observance. (Credit: Dennis O’Shea)

Mr. Hopkins left $7 million in his will to establish a university and hospital in Baltimore that revolutionized higher education and health care and evolved into today’s worldwide Johns Hopkins institutions. His gift was, at the time, the largest bequest in the nation’s history. It was the foundation for all that the institutions named for him have done.

The 20th consecutive annual observance will be led by university Vice President and Secretary Emeritus Ross Jones. It will include informal remembrances of Mr. Hopkins and presentation of a memorial wreath.

Speaking will be Rooney Peterson, who has developed her interest in Johns Hopkins history during 20 years as a volunteer at the institutions’ Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives. She spent 25 years working as a health care administrator and consultant, most of those years at Johns Hopkins. She is also the spouse of Ronald R. Peterson, president emeritus of the Johns Hopkins Health System and former executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Mr. Hopkins’ obituary, published in the Dec. 25, 1873, Baltimore Sun, is online. Also available online is the text of the Baltimore American’s coverage of Mr. Hopkins’ death, including a brief bulletin on Dec. 24, 1873, and an obituary published the following day.

A change in the usual logistics: The main gate of Green Mount Cemetery is under construction, so this year participants will use an alternate gate. To reach the gravesite, enter at the small gate along Greenmount Avenue about 100 yards south of North Avenue. (It’s across the street from where Lafayette Avenue intersects with Greenmount. It’s also about four blocks north of the main gate.)

Drive straight up the hill until you reach a circle with an obelisk in the middle. Go around the circle to the right and take the first right. That road will take you on a winding route through the cemetery until you see, on your left, the A.S. Abell grave with the transparent cover. Park there and then walk along the road to the right of Abell’s grave, where you will find our gathering.

Afterwards: Immediately after the observance, participants are invited to visit Clifton Mansion, Mr. Hopkins’ summer home, for refreshments, tours, and holiday decorations. Clifton is at 2701 St. Lo Drive, less than 2 miles from Green Mount Cemetery. The host for the reception is Civic Works, the non-profit social services organization that now occupies and is restoring the mansion.


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