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Francis T. King reminiscences

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-0322

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of a holographic manuscript written by Francis T. King in which he describes some early events in his life. Most likely, the period covered is 1826-1843. There are no references to Francis T. King's later association with The Johns Hopkins University. Also in the collection is a typescript translation of the manuscript prepared by William P. Carey, the donor of the collection. (William P. Carey is the great-grandson of James Carey, King's cousin and business partner.) The manuscript and the translation each total 14 pages. Most likely, these pages were to be part of a larger biography. It is unknown whether additional pages exist.

In his reminiscences, King described both his parents and mentioned briefly a few of his experiences at St. Mary's College in Baltimore and later at Haverford. He mentions being taken as a young child to see the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) during the French general's visit to Baltimore in 1826 and attending the funeral of Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1832) while a student at St. Mary's. In one poignant anecdote, he described his successful attempt to secure the release of a young male slave removed from a neighboring farm and held for re-sale in Baltimore. Of particular interest are passages in which King described his encounter with the renowned English Quaker, Joseph John Gurney (1788-1847). King describes in some detail how the meeting with Gurney had a profound effect on his spiritual life and led him to seriously question the correctness of pursuing a career in business. The manuscript concludes with King's visit to Philadelphia in [1843] and a visit with a Quaker minister, Elizabeth Evans. Although the manuscript is fairly brief, it presents an interesting perspective on Quaker thought and purpose of the period and provides an insight into an important figure in the early history of Hopkins.


  • Creation: 1826-1843


Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical Note

Francis T. (Thompson) King was born in Baltimore, Maryland, February 25, 1819. Francis T. King studied for two years at St. Mary's College in Baltimore. When the Society of Friends opened Haverford (School) College in 1833, King was one of 21 boys in the first class of the newly- established institution. He was graduated from Haverford in 1835.

After college, King entered business and found a place with Janney, Hopkins, and Hull, a firm owned by the prominent Quaker merchant and philanthropist, Johns Hopkins. Around 1838, King become a member of a hardware importing house under the firm name of Plummer & King. He withdrew after three years. It was during this period that King met the eminent Quaker, Joseph John Gurney, well-known in Great Britain and the United States as a Biblical scholar and Evangelical theologian. Gurney traveled in America, 1837-1840, and was a guest of King's parents during a visit to Maryland in 1838. King later visited Gurney in Philadelphia and was greatly influenced by the spiritual messages of the English Quaker. Though King eventually formed a prosperous partnership with his cousin, James Carey, he was mostly drawn to the Quakers' belief in performing charitable and educational work. He was Clerk of the Baltimore Yearly Meeting for many years.

In 1867, the intention of Mr. Johns Hopkins to fund and establish a university in Baltimore was formalized when the first Board of Trustees was named. Among the twelve trustees personally selected by Hopkins was Francis T. King. King was also named to serve on the board of the planned Johns Hopkins Hospital. When Hopkins died in 1873, King served as one of the three executors of his estate along with Francis White, and Charles J. M. Gwinn.

After 1867, King devoted great attention and energy to fulfilling the bequest of Johns Hopkins. In the spring of 1881, he went to Europe to search for men of learning to complete the first faculty of the new University. At the same time, he inspected the English women's colleges since he was also serving as chairman of the trustees who were planning Bryn Mawr College. King also consulted with Florence Nightingale regarding the education of nurses.

Francis T. King died in 1891.


0.167 Cubic Feet (28 pages)

Language of Materials



Collection consists of a holographic manuscript (14 pages) of Francis T. King spanning the years 1826-1843, along with a typescript translation.


The collection was given to the University by Wiliam P. Carey in 1991.

Related Materials

Related material of Francis T. King's mother, Tacy Ellicott King, can be found in the Ellicott-King Papers, MS.0161.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Joan Grattan in April 1992.

Francis T. King reminiscences
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA