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Material Culture Collections


Architectural Plans and Elements

Architectural drawings, plans, blueprints, models, and building elements span the entire history of Johns Hopkins, from the building of the hospital in the 1880s to the opening of the most recent facilities on the medical campus. Highlights include the nineteenth century ink-on-linen drawings for the original buildings of Johns Hopkins Hospital by the firms of John R. Niernsee and Cabot and Chandler and planning documents and blueprints for the Henry Phipps Psychiatric Clinic by Grosvenor Atterbury.

Drawing of the William H. Welch Medical Library by Edward L. Tilton, Architect

Medical Illustration

The first medical illustration program, Art as Applied to Medicine, was created by Max Brödel, a Johns Hopkins medical illustrator. This collection of thousands of drawings, prints, and mixed media works by Max Brodel, Dorcas Padget, James Didush, William Didusch, Leon Schlossberg, Elizabeth Browning, and others is currently being processed and is available to researchers.


Drawing by Leon Schlossberg illustrating a Teflon felt patch repair surgical procedure for atrial septal defect

Armamentarium of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health

The equipment, tools, and devices that are used in research, teaching, and clinical practice at Johns Hopkins make up the armamentarium collection. This includes prototypes for the first defibrillator, the clamp developed by Vivien Thomas for use in the blue baby operations, laboratory instruments from John Jacob Abel, Adolf Meyer, George Gey, and others. Also in the collection is a comprehensive set of nursing uniforms from the Johns Hopkins Hospital.


Monroe Calculator, used by statisticians in public health Circa 1950s Manufactured by Monroe Calculating Machine Company, Incorporated

Awards and Medals

This collection consists of the awards, statuettes, medals, and plaques that have been presented to Johns Hopkins doctors, nurses, professors, and administrators. It includes the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to Daniel Nathans and Lasker awards given to Helen Taussig, Alfred Blalock, and Vernon Mountcastle.

Albert Lasker Award presented to Helen B. Taussig for distinguished contributions to cardiovascular surgery, 1954, Bronze statuette on marble base, 14 inches high

Personal Effects and Mementos

Finally, there are pins, posters, banners and personal effects that commemorate events, achievements, and the lives of Johns Hopkins faculty, staff, patients, and their families. A notable collection of materials documents the Turtle Derby, an annual event where donations to the hospital were made through bets placed on “racing” turtles.


Pins from the annual Johns Hopkins Turtle Derby, various years, 1965-1992


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