This Day in Gilman History: What’s in a Name?

Portraite of Daniel Coit Gilman

This portrait of Daniel Coit Gilman hangs in the Gilman Room in Carey Hall.

Today it’s so ubiquitous, it just rolls off the tongue: Gilman.

But 105 years ago the school was known as Country School for Boys in Baltimore City, as it had been since its founding in 1897.

The problem: the name was just about the only thing that wasn’t new at the school. Boys moved into the school’s spacious new home on Roland Avenue in the fall of 1910 while it was still under construction. The trustees realized that the name of the school did not match its stately new facilities, and sought to make a change.

At the school’s annual Christmas dinner in December 1910, it was announced that the school would be renamed Gilman Country School for Boys. The name was to honor the recently deceased Daniel Coit Gilman, who, while serving as the first president of Johns Hopkins University, had been an advisor to the Country Day School’s original board of trustees. The change pleased many of the school’s young alumni,  who found that the name of their alma mater was a source of a great deal of ribbing when they went off to prestigious East Coast universities.

Official paperwork declaring the name change was filed with the State of Maryland a month later, and on the 28th of January, 1911, the name change became official. The filing included this explanation:

WHEREAS the late Dr. Daniel C. Gilman, President emeritus of the Johns Hopkins University, was one of the active members of the Organization Committee of the Country School for Boys, and the organization and subsequent history of the school has been to a great degree due to his encouragement and sympathy, and to his widsom and good judgment:

AND WHEREAS it is unanimous wish of the members of the Board of Trustees that Dr. Gilman’s name should be permanently associated with the history of the school; not only as an expression of the affectionate regard and admiration of the members of the Board and in grateful memory of Dr. Gilman’s great services to the School, but because the Trustees feel that the blameless character of Dr. Gilman, his unselfish and public spirited life and his noble and birlliant services to the great causes of higher education, science, charity and good government will always make his name an inspiration to the Boys of the School;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the first Article of the Certificate of Incorporation be and the same is hereby amended by changing the corporate title of “Country School for Boys of Baltimore City” to “Gilman Country School for Boys, Incorporated”…

The name was amended once again in 1951, this time to the familiar “Gilman School, Incorporated” we know today, ensuring that the figure of Dr. Daniel C. Gilman remain an inspiration for generations to come.

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One thought on “This Day in Gilman History: What’s in a Name?

  1. Pingback: Farewell From The Archives | Lumen

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