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aquatint of Elisha Tyson, Maryland Historical Society
Elisha Tyson

engraving of Maryland Medical College, Maryland State Archives
Medical College

print of House of Refuge, Maryland State Archives
House of Refuge

photograph of John W. Garrett, Maryland State Archives
John W. Garrett

print of St. Francis Academy, Maryland State Archives
St. Francis Academy

print of Maryland Hospital for The Insane, Maryland State Archives
Hospital for the Insane

engraving of Frederick Douglass, Maryland State Archives
Frederick Douglass

engraving of Athenaeum, Maryland State Archives



Poppleton map of Baltimore, 1823 [1852], Maryland State Archives Poppleton map of Baltimore, 1823 [1852], Maryland State Archives
Poppleton map of Baltimore, 1823 [1852], Maryland State Archives Poppleton map of Baltimore, 1823 [1852], Maryland State Archives

Plan of the City of Baltimore by Thos. H. Poppleton, 1822 [1852], MSA SC 1213-1-292

Baltimore has been labeled by some scholars as the city that gave rise to
the birth of modern philanthropy. It is said that the charitable actions of 
nineteenth century Baltimoreans served as the model for others throughout
the country. Individuals such as Johns Hopkins, George Peabody, and 
Enoch Pratt gave freely of their personal wealth to found schools, hospitals,
and support the general public good. Whether prompted by religious conviction
or deep personal concern, these benevolent minded citizens fully embraced
their civic responsibility to the city and the welfare of its population. 

Yet one must be careful not to overlook the many smaller scale works of
average residents. Though their activities may not be recorded in the general 
histories of the city, the continued commitment of Baltimoreans to the funding of
charities and community institutions ultimately improved the quality of life for all. 

African American citizens have a long history of providing assistance to one
another. As early as the 1820s, community based mutual beneficial societies offered
financial support and encouragement to members facing hardships. Black churches 
also served as a wellspring for assistance to both free and enslaved. 

The following timeline is an initial, modest step toward a comprehensive record of 
the philanthropic and benevolent activities of all Baltimoreans. The timeline will 
undoubtedly grow as more research is undertaken. 

The Benevolent Society of Baltimore City and County is founded to
relieve the distress of poor girls (now St. Paul's School for Girls).

John McDonogh moves from Baltimore to New Orleans.

Baltimore Dispensary opens to provide free medical care to the
indigent poor without regard to creed or color. The founders
include Archbishop John Carroll and Elisha Tyson.

The Humane Impartial Society for Poor and Needy Women is
founded (now Pickersgill Retirement Home).

John H. B. Latrobe is born. He will be founding president of the
Maryland Institute for the Mechanic Arts, a founder and later
president of the American Colonization Society, and a founder and
later president of the Maryland Historical Society and the first biographer
of Benjamin Banneker.

St. Mary's College, founded in 1791 by French immigrants from
Haiti, opens its doors to English-speaking American students.

The Hibernian Society is formed to aid Irish immigrants.

The Baltimore House of Industry is founded to provide housing
and job training for the poor. Elisha Tyson is a founder.

St. Peter's School is founded as Baltimore's first free school with a
$10,000 bequest for the education of poor children from Captain
Jeremiah Yellott, a Revolutionary War privateer and

The Medical College of Maryland is established.

Elizabeth Seton opens the Female Academy.

Enoch Pratt is born in North Middleborough, Massachusetts. He
will found the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and bequeath
$1,500,000 to the Sheppard-Pratt hospital.

The first Roman Catholic elementary school in the United States is

Elizabeth Seton founds Sisters of St. Joseph.

Brantz Mayer is born. He will be a founder and later president of
the Maryland Historical Society and agent for Baltimore City in the
settlement of John McDonogh's large philanthropic estate.

The Baltimore Society to Protect Free Negroes is organized. Elisha
Tyson is a founder.

Maryland enacts legislation abolishing the requirement of two or
more witnesses to a deed of manumission and prohibiting sale of
slaves out of state. Elisha Tyson is a supporter.

Orphaline Charity School for Poor Girls is founded.

George Peabody moves to Baltimore.

Rembrandt Peale opens the Peale Museum, a popular cultural

The Baltimore House of Refuge opens. Elisha Tyson is a founder.

The American Colonization Society is founded with Henry Clay as
president. John H. B. Latrobe will succeed Clay. John McDonogh
and Moses Sheppard are vice presidents.

William Thompson Walters is born. He will accumulate the
Walters Art Gallery collection, which will be given to Baltimore
City, with an endowment, by his son Henry in 1931.

John W. McCoy is born. He will contribute his art collection to the
Peabody Institute and bequeath his library and most of his estate
to the Johns Hopkins University.

John W. Garrett is born in Baltimore. He will become president of
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. A philanthropist himself, he will
advise George Peabody and Johns Hopkins on their benevolent

McKim Free School opens.

Hibernian Free School is founded for children of Irish immigrants.

Benjamin Lundy, a vigorous opponent of slavery and publisher of
America's first antislavery newspaper, The Genius of Universal
Emancipation, moves to Baltimore. He will be joined by William
Lloyd Garrison, future editor of The Liberator, in 1828.

Elisha Tyson dies after a lifetime of leadership in benevolent
causes, respect for others, and the abolition of slavery.

Maryland enacts legislation giving Jewish citizens full voting and
office-holding rights. John S. Tyson, nephew of Elisha Tyson and
cousin of Johns Hopkins, is a major proponent in the House of

The first Baltimore Athenaeum building is completed.

The Maryland Institute of the Mechanic Arts is founded with John
H. B. Latrobe as president.

The Mercantile Library Company is organized to provide useful
and popular books to members.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is founded. It will generate wealth
for philanthropists such as Johns Hopkins and John W. Garrett.

The Oblate Sisters of Providence found St. Francis Academy for
black children.

John Glen, who will become a national leader in the study of the
effects of philanthropy, is born.

Benjamin Lundy and his associate William Lloyd Garrison leave

The self-educated New York inventor Peter Cooper moves to
Baltimore to build steam locomotives for the Baltimore and Ohio

Baltimore is America's second largest city.

Mendes Cohen is born. He will become a dedicated and
philanthropic Baltimorean.

Enoch Pratt moves from Boston to Baltimore to become a
merchant, dealing in nails and horseshoes.

Visiting French author and statesman Alexis de Tocqueville reports
on the high level of volunteerism in the United States.

The Maryland Colonization Society is chartered with John H. B.
Latrobe as president.

The Peale Museum closes.

Members of the Maryland Colonization Society vow to hasten "the
arrival of the period when slavery would cease to exist in

The University of Maryland Medical School becomes the first in
America to teach hygiene and public health.

The State of Maryland assumes control of the Maryland Hospital
for the Insane.  The predecessor institution was founded jointly in 
1797 by the State, the city of Baltimore, and private citizens. 

The Athenaeum Building, home of the Maryland Institute for the
Mechanic Arts, is destroyed by fire.

The Mercantile Library opens.

George Peabody moves from Baltimore to London.

Recession in the United States ("The Panic of '37").

Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery in Baltimore. He will
become a prominent and effective spokesman against slavery and
advisor to President Abraham Lincoln.

Baltimore Dental College is founded, the first school of its kind in
the world.

Baltimore Central High School (now City College) is founded.

Author and legislator John Pendleton Kennedy expresses concern
about Maryland's lack of cultural resources and proposes an
Institution that would incorporate a public library, a museum, an
art school, and a lecture hail.

Maryland College of Pharmacy is founded.

Brantz Mayer conducts a study of state historical societies.

The Maryland Historical Society is founded. The institution brings
together business, cultural, and philanthropic leaders and
contributes to Baltimore's position as a major center of
philanthropy among American cities.

An article in the New York Sun estimates that there are 21
millionaires in the United States.

Calvert Hall College founded by the Christian Brothers order.

Frederick Douglass publishes his narrative of his life in slavery.

An appeal signed by 116 citizens and business firms  raises
$35,000 in gifts for building and furnishing a new Athenaeum building
to house the Maryland Historical Society, a gallery of fine arts,
the Baltimore Library Company, a reading room, and the Mercantile
Library. Donors include Johns Hopkins, George Peabody, 
Moses Sheppard, John McDonogh, and Enoch Pratt.

Johns Hopkins becomes a director of the Baltimore and Ohio

The new Athenaeum Building is occupied.

The Maryland Historical Society holds its first annual art exhibit
with Johns Hopkins as an exhibitor.

Henry Walters is born. In 1931 he will give the Walters Art Gallery,
with an endowment, to Baltimore.

Baltimore Female College for teachers founded.

John McDonogh dies, leaving bequests for education to Baltimore
and New Orleans.

Baltimore Association for the Improvement of the Poor is founded.

Family and Children's Society opens.