"Elisabeth Gilman: Crusader for Justice is a welcome addition to public and college library American Biography collections, highly recommended."
- Library Bookwatch
This is the first-ever biography of Elisabeth Gilman, a largely forgotten Marylander born to privilege in the nineteenth century who became an irrepressible force for social justice in the twentieth.
As the second daughter of Daniel Coit Gilman, founding president of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Elisabeth was raised in well-to-do, influential circles.
Privately educated by tutors, she eventually earned a bachelor's degree at Johns Hopkins. But unlike many who shared Elisabeth's elevated station, she was possessed of a restless and critical spirit. As a strong devotee of the Social Gospel, she campaigned on behalf of the poor, African-Americans, women, and laborers exposed to harsh conditions.
After her father's death, Elisabeth joined the Socialist Party and was nominated as a candidate for governor of Maryland, United States senator, mayor of Baltimore, and even sheriff of Baltimore.
Never married, Elisabeth fell under the spell of a charismatic, progressive Episcopal priest named Mercer Green Johnston, and followed him and his wife to Paris during World War I, where she helped to support homesick American doughboys under the aegis of the YMCA.