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Frank Johnson Goodnow papers

Identifier: MS-0003

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Scope and Contents

The collection of political scientist and Johns Hopkins University president, Frank Johnson Goodnow, includes correspondence, lectures, articles, clippings, printed books and memorabilia. The collection consists of about 12,000 items and spans the years 1880 to 1940. The majority of the material is Goodnow's correspondence, but there are also lectures, addresses, writings and printed material.

Of particular interest is the correspondence between Goodnow and Lord Bryce, the eminent British jurist, historian, and diplomat. These letters relate to Goodnow's research on the Tweed Ring and are filed in Box 26.

Materials relating to Goodnow's interest in China are together in Box 25. The final series consists of awards, honors, and appointments.

List of correspondents:

Adams, Henry Carter (1851-1921) Baldwin, Simeon Eben (1840-1927) Bryce, James (Viscount) (1838-1922) Bullock, Charles Jesse (1869-1941) Butler, Nicholas Murray (1862-1947) Carpenter, William Henry (1853-1936) Commons, John Rogers (1862-1945) Fairlie, John Archibald (1872-1947) Fisher, Walter Lowrie (1862-1935) Flexner, Abraham (1866-1959) Folks, Homer (1867-1963) Garfield, James Rudolph (1865-1950) Garner, James Wilford (1871-1938) Gildersleeve, Basil Lanneau (1831-1924) Gray, John Henry (1859-1946) Greene Francis Vinton (1850-1921) Hart, Albert Bushnell (1854-1943) Hepburn, Alonzo Barton (1846-1922) Hollander, Jacob Henry (1871-1940) Holt, Henry (1840-1926) Howe, Frederic Clemson (1867-1940) Ingalls, Melville Ezra (1842-1914) Insull, Samuel (1859-1938) Jackson, Samuel Macauley (1851-1912) James. Edmund Janes (1855-1925) Jameson, John Franklin (1859-1937) Jenks, Jeremiah Whipple (1856-1929) Jerome, William Travers (1859-1934) Judson, Harry Pratt (1849-1927) Keppel, Frederick Paul (1875-1943) Kirchway, George Washington (1855-1942) Knapp, Martin Augustine (1843-1923) Lindsay, Samuel McCune (1869-1959) Low, Seth (1850-1916) Mitchel, John Purroy (1879-1918) Munro, William Bennett (1875-1957) Murphy, Edgar Gardner (1869-1913) Ogden, Robert Curtis (1836-1913) Putnam, George Haven (1844-1930) Rockefeller, John Davison, Jr. (1874-1960) Rowe, Leo Stanton (1871-1946) Seager, Henry Rogers (1870-1930) Shaw, Albert (1857-1947) Smith, Charles Sprague (1853-1910) Taussig, Frank William (1859-1940) Villard, Oswald Garrison (1872-1942) Willoughby, Westel Woodbury (1867-1945) Woolsey Theodore Salisbury (1852-1929)


  • Creation: 1880-1940


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

Frank Johnson Goodnow was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on January 18, 1859, the son of Abel F. and Jane M. (Root) Goodnow. After preparation in private schools in Brooklyn, Goodnow entered Amherst College and received his A.B. degree in 1879. For a short time he worked in a broker's office and then enrolled in the law school of Columbia University, where in addition to such subjects essential for admission to the Bar, he took courses in public law and jurisprudence offered in the recently organized School of Political Science. He received his law degree in 1882 and entered a law office in New York City. Late in 1882 he was offered a position the School of Political Science on the condition that he prepare himself with a year of study abroad. After study in 1883-84 at the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris and further work in the University of Berlin, he took up his teaching in October 1884 at Columbia, giving some instruction in History as well as in United States Administrative Law. Made Adjunct Professor in 1887, Goodnow became Professor of Administrative Law in 1891, and in 1903 Eaton Professor of Administrative Law and Municipal Science. He produced a number of books in his particular field and between 1897 and 1907 received the Honorary Degrees of Amherst, Columbia, and Harvard. Governor Theodore Roosevelt made him a member of the commission to draft a new charter for Greater New York, and President Taft chose him as a member of his Commission on Economy and Efficiency. In October 1912 he accepted, on the recommendation of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the commission of Constitutional advisor to the Chinese Government which took him to China in March 1913. Returning to the United States, he took up his duties as President of Johns Hopkins University on October 1, 1914 and was inaugurated May 20, 1915. One of his first major tasks was to move the institution to the Homewood site. The greater part of the work of the Faculty of Philosophy was transferred to Homewood in the summer of 1916. In 1925 Goodnow proposed a change in the educational policy of Johns Hopkins University which became known as the Goodnow Plan, proposing the abandonment of undergraduate work. The proposal was approved by the Trustees in January 1926, but proved ultimately unsuccessful. The Institute of Law was established in 1928, but the financial decline precipitated by the Wall Street crash of 1929 led to the indefinite suspension of its work.

Goodnow resigned the Johns Hopkins University Presidency in 1929, but thereafter frequently gave graduate lectures in his special subjects. He was for some time a regent of the University of Maryland and a member of the Board of School Commissioners of Baltimore. Goodnow died on November 15, 1939.


12.6 Cubic Feet (26 legal size document boxes, 1 flat box (15.5 x 10.5 x 3 inches), 1 over-sized folder)

Language of Materials



Frank Johnson Goodnow, Ph.D., LL.B. (January 18, 1859 – November 15, 1939), President of Johns Hopkins University, was an American educator and legal scholar, born in Brooklyn, New York. The collection consists of about 12,000 items and spans the years 1880 to 1940. The majority of the material is Goodnow's correspondence, but there are also lectures, addresses, writings and printed material.


The correspondence has been filed alphabetically by the writer with copies of Goodnow's replies attached.

His lectures, addresses, and writings have been filed by date or alphabetically by title when there was no date.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Frank Johnson Goodnow were given to the University in 1940. The papers were a gift of the Goodnow Family.

Related Materials

See also related materials in the Collitz, French, Gildersleeve, Hollander, Miller, Remsen, Rowland, and Turnbull Collections in Special Collections.


Frank Johnson Goodnow papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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