1854 -1915

The dome of the Johns Hopkins Hospital
Johns Hopkins



Photograph of Mary Garrett and other female philanthropists
Mary Garrett (seated center) with (clockwise from lower left) Elizabeth King, Julia Rogers, Mary Gwinn, and M. Carey Thomas, all of whom were influential in raising money for the medical school of The Johns Hopkins University.

One of the wealthiest single women in the United States, Mary Garrett used her position and wealth to open the doors of opportunity for women in areas such as medicine, education, and equal rights. Her gifts, which eventually totaled more than $1.5 million, established institutions that today are among the best in the world. In 1893, she contributed $354,000 to The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine on the condition that women be admitted on the same terms as men, that the school operate at the graduate level, and that students have a background in the sciences. These high standards became a model that other medical schools soon followed. 

In the 1880s, when most women's secondary schools concentrated on preparing women for marriage, Garrett financed Baltimore's Bryn Mawr School. Her contributions to Philadelphia's Bryn Mawr College a decade later strengthened the school, making it one of the country's finest women's colleges.