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John Martin Vincent papers

Identifier: MS-0032

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Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence, scrapbooks, subject files, and personal materials ranging in date from 1881 to 1925. The bulk of the material is correspondence dating from 1900-1910.

The correspondence forms the bulk of the collection, and focuses primarily on Vincent's administrative duties for the department-- job interviews, recommendations of candidates to other schools, editorship of the John Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science. In addition, Vincent served on various committees of the American Historical Association, and some of the letters address his work there. The correspondents are varied--former students, faculty members, publishing companies--and the bulk of the letters cover 1900-1910.

The other series are small, and document only a small part of Vincent's career at Hopkins. Material in the Department of History series illustrates some of his duties in the History Department: preparing syllabi and exams, taking notes on meetings of the Johns Hopkins University Historical and Political Science Association. The papers written by Vincent's students on historical method reflect theories of late nineteenth and early twentienth century historiography. This series also contains two scrapbooks (1888-1916; 1883-1915) which have copies of matriculation exam questions and syllabi. Herbert Baxter Adams, first chairman of the history department and Vincent's mentor, probably began compiling the material; Vincent added to it after Adams's death in 1901.

Vincent also continued Adams's teaching technique of illustrating lectures with prints from books and magazines. Vincent entitled his print collection "Views of Places, Monuments, etc., etc." The prints are included in the Department of History series.

Before assuming his professorship in the History Department, Vincent ran the Historical Seminary Library. Vincent's correspondence with book dealers, as well as lists of books purchased are included in the History Department series. This material, along with similar invoices in the Herbert Baxter Adams Papers (MS.0004) document the development of the Seminary Library.

Vincent was a member of the Political Economy Club of Baltimore, a private organization which met to discuss current economic issues. The series consists of minutes from 1903-1906, which cover such diverse topics as: "The Fiscal Problem in England," "Expenditures of the Government," "The Problems of Colonial Government," and "Municipal Finances of Baltimore."

The datebooks, scrapbook and newspaper clippings reflect Vincent's personal life. The datebooks contain notations on appointments, activities, faculty meetings, and other responsibilities. The scrapbook reveals Vincent's lighter side, and contains limericks, puns, anecdotes, and newspaper clippings. The other news clippings Vincent saved were also of personal interest, focusing on Hopkins, local news from Elyria, Ohio, and copies of his columns written for an Elyria newspaper about his trip to Europe (1891-1892).


  • Creation: 1881-1925


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

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

John Martin Vincent was born in Elyria, Ohio on October 11, 1857, the son of John M. and Phoebe V. Martin. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees at Oberlin College. From 1881-1883 he studied at Berlin and Leipzig. After his European studies, he entered The Johns Hopkins University for doctoral studies, receiving his Ph.D in 1890.

Vincent spent 20 years as Professor of European History at Johns Hopkins. He edited the Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, and authored five works: Costume and Conduct in the Laws of Basel, Bern and Zurich, 1370- 1800, Municipal Government in the Twelfth Century, Municipal Problems in Mediaeval Switzerland, State and Federal Government in Switzerland, and Switzerland at the Beginning of the Sixteenth Century. In addition he edited a work on science and religion and one on European and American constitutions. John Martin Vincent died in 1939 at age 81, leaving an estate of more than one million dollars, which he bequeathed to The Johns Hopkins University.


3.58 Cubic Feet (3 letter half-size document boxes, 5 legal size document boxes, 1 flat box (15.5 x 12 x 3 inches), 2 pamphlet boxes (7.25 x 4 x 10 inches))

Language of Materials



John Martin Vincent (1857-1939) years was a Professor of European History at Johns Hopkins University. This collection consists of correspondence, scrapbooks, subject files, and personal materials ranging in date from 1881 to 1925. The bulk of the material is correspondence dating from 1900-1910.


John Martin Vincent donated his papers and diaries to the Henry E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery shortly before his death in 1939. In 1940, a portion of the collection relevant to Vincent's years at Hopkins was given to the Hopkins library, per letter of Lester E. Bliss, Librarian of the Huntington Library, to John C. French, Librarian of the Hopkins Library. In 1976, Ernest A. Strathman of Pomona College sent the University a scrapbook of Vincent's containing puns, limericks, humorous verses and newspaper clippings to be added to the collection. More material was added to the collection in 2011, believe to be the contents of Box 4A and Boxes 5A and 5B.

Related Materials

See also related materials in the Adams, Gildersleeve, Gilman, Hollander, Lovejoy, Reins, and Remsen Collections in Special Collections.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Margaret N. Burri in 1987.


John Martin Vincent papers
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