1831–1908, American educator, first president of Johns Hopkins Univ., b. Norwich, Conn., grad. Yale, 1852. After serving as attaché (1853–55) of the American legation at St. Petersburg, he returned to Yale and was active in planning and raising funds for the founding of Sheffield Scientific School. From 1856 to 1865 he was librarian of Yale College and was also concerned with improving the New Haven public school system. Appointed (1863) professor of geography at Sheffield Scientific School, he became secretary and librarian as well in 1866. He resigned these posts in 1872 to become president of the newly organized Univ. of California. His work there was hampered by the state legislature, and in 1875 Gilman accepted the offer to establish and become first president of Johns Hopkins. at Baltimore. Before being formally installed as president in 1876, he spent a year studying university organization and selecting an outstanding staff of teachers and scholars. Gilman's primary interest was in fostering advanced instruction and research, and as president he developed the first great American graduate university in the German tradition. Gilman was also active in founding Johns Hopkins Hospital (1889) and Johns Hopkins Medical School (1893). He founded and was for many years president of the Charity Organization of Baltimore and served as a trustee of the John F. Slater and Peabody Education funds and as a member of the General Education Board. He retired from Johns Hopkins in 1901, but accepted the presidency (1902–4) of the newly founded Carnegie Institution of Washington. His books include biographies of James Monroe and James Dwight Dana, a collection of addresses entitled University Problems (1898), and The Launching of a University (1906).
- See biographies by F. Franklin (1910, repr. 1973) and A. Flexner (1946);.
- Pioneer: A History of the Johns Hopkins University, 1874–1899 (1960). ,