Summary Information

Repository
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011
Creator
Johnson, Henry, 1855-1918
Title
Henry Johnson papers
ID
M099
Date [inclusive]
1870-1915
Extent
11.0 linear feet
Language
Abstract
The collection contains correspondence, notes, drafts, documents, lectures and other material concerning the life and career of Henry Johnson (1811-1945).

Preferred Citation

Henry Johnson papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine.


Biographcial/Historical Note

Henry Johnson (1855-1918) graduated from Bowdoin in 1874, and continued his studies in Europe until 1877. He then returned to Bowdoin as instructor of modern languages, was appointed professor in 1881, and held the Longfellow Chair in that discipline from its establishment in 1882 until his death.

During that time, Johnson also served as Librarian of the College (1880-85), Curator of the Museum of Art (1881-87; 1892-1914), and Director of the Museum of Art (1914-18).

Johnson published several books of poems, a descriptive catalogue of Bowdoin's art collections, a variant edition of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, an edition of Schiller's Ballads, and a highly acclaimed English translation of Dante's Divine Comedy.

Johnson married Frances Robinson in 1881; they had two children. Volumes from Johnson's collection of rare books, including many Bibles and editions of Dante and Shakespeare, came to the Library in the 1940s and 1970s.


Scope and Content

The collection contains correspondence, notes, drafts, documents, lectures and other material concerning the life and career of Henry Johnson (1811-1945). It includes extensive correspondence with family members, publishers (including the Yale University Press and D.C. Heath & Co.), artists, including Kenyon Cox, Abbott Thayer and Elihu Vedder, and Bowdoin friends and colleagues; drafts and notes for his published works; documents relating to his family; photographs of Industry, Maine, the Johnson ancestral home; and records relating to his years at Bowdoin.


Administrative Information

Publication Information

 George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011

3000 College Station
Brunswick, Maine, 04011
(207) 725-3288
scaref@bowdoin.edu

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.


Collection Inventory

Early family records, 1811-1873   0.25 linear feet

Series Description:

Letters, deeds, receipts, agreements and other documents (1811-69) relating to Johnson's ancestors and family; followed by financial records (1838-73). Much of the earliest material relates to the town of Industry, Maine, its school and the family members living there. Later material concerns Professor Johnson's father, Richard Elliot Johnson, his father's family and his early education.

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Box Folder
1 1-6

1811-1869, undated 

1 7-8

Financial material, 1838-1873 


Correspondence, 1870-1918, undated 1870-1918, undated   3.75 linear feet

Series Description:

Johnson's correspondence (1870-1918) includes personal, family and professional letters filed chronologically, beginning with his college years. It includes a regular, almost weekly, exchange with his father; letters from his fianceeā€š (1880-81); correspondence with publishers and with Bowdoin officers and colleagues. There are also letters from three of the four artists involved in decorating the rotunda of the Walker Art Museum: Kenyon Cox, Abbott Thayer and Elihu Vedder. A detailed chronological list and alphabetical name index of non-family correspondence is available for in-house use.

Arrangement:

Arranged chronologically.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Box Folder
1 9-13

1870-1874 

Box
2

1875-1878 

3

1879-1885 

4

1885-miscellaneous 

5

1886-1888 

6

1888-1890 

7

1890-1891 

8

1892-1894 

9

1895-1897 

10

1898-1900 

11

1901-1904 

12

1904-1905 

13

1906-1908 

14

1909-1911 

15

1912-1913 

16

1914-1915 

17

1916-1918 & undated 


Personal records, 1870-1945 1870-1945   2.25 linear feet

Series Description:

Records relating to Johnson and his immediate family, including diaries, financial material, documents, essays, notes and genealogies; grouped by type, the material is arranged alphabetically. Sections include college themes, including his commencement part; scattered diaries and journals (1870-1905); documents (1881-1945), among them marriage certificates, deeds, wills, etc.; material concerning his immediate family (for more information see the Chase-Johnson Papers); financial records (1870-1914), including bank and royalty statements; notes and notebooks; travel records (1875-1913); and ephemera (1871-1917).

Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Box
18

College themes 

19-21

Diaries and journals, 1870-1905 

Box Folder
22 1-4

Documents, 1881-1945 

22 5-13

Ephemera, [ca. 1871-1900] 

23 1-5

Ephemera, [ca. 1907-1917 and n.d.] 

23 6-10

Family material 

Box
24

Financial, [ca. 1870-1917] 

Box Folder
25 1

Financial, [ca. 1910-1914] 

25 2-11

Miscellaneous 

26 1-6

Notes and notebooks 

26 7-10

Travel records, [ca. 1875-1913] 


Professional records, [ca. 1880-1915], undated [ca. 1880-1915], undated   4.25 linear feet

Series Description:

Notes, drafts, lectures, proofs and other materials, mostly undated, relating to Johnson's career as professor, author, and member of the Bowdoin College staff. It includes scholarly notes on various subjects; lectures read before various groups; essays, poems and book drafts, published and unpublished. Grouped by material type (i.e. poems, essays, notes, or translations), it is arranged alphabetically. Special sections on the works of Dante and Shakespeare, his two major subjects of study, combine all types of material.

Arrangement:

Arranged alphabetically.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Box
27

Course material 

Dante 

Box
28-29

Divine Comedy (draft on cards) 

Box Folder
30 1-9

Divine Comedy 

Ovsz-Box
41

Proofs 

Box Folder
30 10-11

Notes 

30 12-14

La Vita Nuova 

Box
31

Essays 

Lectures 

Box
32

Notes 

32

Ambition - Teaching 

33

History of Art 

Box
34

Museum of Art - catalog draft 

35

Notes and outlines 

Poems 

Box
36

Ca. 1877-1917 

Box Folder
37 1

On Sacred Themes 

37 2-3

Seer and Other Poems 

37 4-5

Where Beauty Is 

Shakespeare 

Box Folder
38 1-2

Lectures 

38 3

Macbeth 

38 4-5

Merchant of Venice 

38 6-11

A Midsummer Night's Dream 

38 12

Much Ado About Nothing 

38 13-14

Notes, 1879-1884 

38 15

Sonnets 

38 16-21

Venus and Adonis 

Box
28

Venus and Adonis (draft on cards) 

Translations and Foreign Language Works 

Box
39-40

Translations and foreign language works 

Volume
1

"Harmony of Greek New Testament with English version by HJ with the collaboration of Harry de Forest Smith," 1891 


Clippings, 1873-1945, undated 1873-1945, undated   0.25 linear feet

Series Description:

Clippings on various subjects, both dated (1873-1945) and undated. Broken very broadly, they are largely unarranged, and include obituaries of Johnson, his family members and friends; articles and poems by Johnson; reports of art exhibits; reviews of his published works; and information on his hometown of Industry, Maine.

Arrangement:

Not arranged.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Box
41

1873-1945, undated 


Photographs, undated Undated   0.25 linear feet

Series Description:

Photographs of Industry, Maine, the ancestral home of the Johnson family which is referred to in the early family records. The images, many of which are cyanotypes, record the town's buildings, daily life and people. The photographer is unknown.

Arrangement:

Not arranged.

Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Box Envelope
42 2/210-2/228

Industry, Maine 

42 3/1-3/48

Industry, Maine