The Archaeological Institute of America, Baltimore Society was the first established, local chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America. The Baltimore Society was officially formed in 1888 by faculty of The Johns Hopkins University and other Baltimoreans who shared a scholarly interest in antiquities and classical studies. Though officially formed in 1888, the earliest minutes of the organization show that in 1886, an early iteration of the group was known as the Archaeological Society of The Johns Hopkins University. Faculty members included President Daniel Coit Gilman, Professors Arthur L. Frothingham, Herbert Baxter Adams, Basil L. Gildersleeve, and Kirby Flower Smith. Well-known Baltimoreans included Reverdy Johnson, John W. McCoy, Charles J. Bonaparte, S. Teakle Wallis, and Henry Walters. Regular meetings were held on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University, and at the homes of members, during which reports were presented describing recent excavations of the Institute and its American Schools of Classical Studies in Athens and Rome.
The Archaeological Institute of America began an official journal in 1885 which was titled American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of Fine Arts. The journal was published in Baltimore and Dr. Arthur L. Frothingham was a contributor and the managing editor. Several members of the Baltimore Society agreed to contribute to a reserve fund of $2000.00 in order to secure the stability of the journal during the first five years of its publication. The record of the Minutes of the Baltimore Society indicate that Dr. Frothingham reported on the progress of the journal at the annual meeting on May 5, 1886. At the annual meeting on March 17, 1887, President Gilman motioned that the society place on record "its appreciation of the high qualities and important work of the journal." In 1897, the title of the journal changed to American Journal of Archaeology.
The University sponsored the 1909 joint convention of the Philological Association and the Archaeological Institute. By 1912 Basil Gildersleeve, the first full professor at Johns Hopkins, was honorary president of the Society. Though not specifically University oriented, the Society boasted among its members such Hopkins luminaries as David Robinson, professor of Greek archaeology and epigraphy, Eugene Levering, Trustee, John Work Garrett, alumnus, John Franklin Goucher, second president of Goucher College, and Ralph Magoffin, professor of classical history. Although much of the material is concerned with the day to day business of the Society, there are several sections of particular interest. Signs of the times are evident in the records of the Depression era, especially 1930-1931, when numerous members resigned or let their dues fall into arrears "until times are better." Correspondence concerning the University's exhibition of the Society's Minoan art reproductions and their subsequent removal to a new archaeological wing of the Baltimore Museum of Art, and Dr. Robinson's request for funding to pursue excavations at the Greek city of Olynthos in Thrace, which he first uncovered in 1928, are also included. In addition, the Society supported the work of the American Academies at Athens and Rome, and published a sixty four page magazine, which was discontinued around 1929. The Johns Hopkins University became a member of the Society in perpetuity in 1924.