Johns Hopkins

For some reason I once thought that the school was named for two guys: Mr. Johns and Mr. Hopkins. Turns out it’s just one guy named Johns Hopkins (1795-1873) who along with being a leading abolitionist, philanthropist and making a ton of money off the B&O Railroad (the best $200 investment around) also had the destinction of having a really confusing first name.

Was “Johns” a common first name in 18th century America? Is there a story behind why his parents named him that? Was he a set of Siamese twins?

PapaBear, he was named for his maternal grandmother - her last name was Johns. I don’t know if it was a common name in the late 18th century.

I do know that it causes all us ex-Hoppies to wince every time we hear “John Hopkins”. I do alumni recruitment interviews (that is, I interview people applying to JHU who can’t travel to Baltimore), and any of them who call the place “John Hopkins” get knocked down a point in my evaluation.

Kids, when you’re applying to college, make sure that you know what the place is called!

Thanks for the quick response, Cat!

If I’d been named after my maternal grandmother’s maiden name, my first name would be “Williams”. No doubt I’d be a wealthy philanthropist as well! Thanks for nothing, Mom and Dad!

Just a point, Cat? I’d drop them to “only if we really need the tuition money” status.

Especially if they’re applying to JHU…

Might as well start a tangent here: How many of you have found that your present/former college(s) have been mistaken for another one? I went to The American University (now “American University”) and it was always mistook for either Emory in Atlanta, or Washington U. in St. Louis.

I went to Washington U. in St Louis.

“Where did you go to school?”

“Washington University.”

“Is that in DC or Seattle?”



Miami U. in Ohio makes for confusion, too.

Miami University, the one in Ohio, is a much older school than the University of Miami in Florida.
The names of the schools are also entirely coincidental.

Here’s a question I asked on one of the other boards but never got answered: Why is a city in southern Florida named after a tribe that lived in the mid-west?

My son went to Wesleyan University (in Connecticut), and they had t-shirts for sale that said something like:
“NOT Illinois Wesleyan
NOT Ohio Wesleyan
NOT Texas Wesleyan
…[listed about six or seven more]…
And NOT Wellseley”

Back to the topic (kinda):

I had a prof in college whose first name was Matts. It wasn’t a nickname for Matthew; just Matts.

Then there’s Prince William of England. His nickname is Wills. Why not Will, Wil, Bill, Willy, Billy? Cuz Wills sounds upper-crust (re: pretentious).

What about the other royals? Prince Charles “Chucks”? Prince Harry “Harrs”? Princess Diana “Dies”?

In high school we had various college recruiters come to visit. At one point the rep from Wheaton College was listed on the board as visiting that day. I thought it was the Wheaton College in Massachussetts. It wasn’t. It turned out to be the Wheaton College in Illinois- the highly religious one that considers social dancing to be “a vertical expression of a horizontal desire”. I was talking to the rep, BSing about why I wanted to go there (“your commitment to academic excellence” blah blah blah). Until at one point she says to me “so have you acknowledged Jesus as your personal savior?” At this point I realized the mistake and started hemming and hawing about being unsure about my religious perspective at this point in my life. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was jewish.

Mojo, that’s great! I’ve never heard that before. Actually, it’s true for me-that’s how I dance!

You found out our little secret, Montfort! :frowning: :wink:

Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in the town of Indiana, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh) confuses the hell out of people. Same for the California University of Pennsylvania.

The Cat In The Hat