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William H. Johnson papers, 1922-1972, bulk 1926-1956

Contents and Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 5 series:

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Series 1: Biographical Material , 1922-1967
(Box 1, 3; 0.2 linear feet)

Scattered biographical material about William H. Johnson and his wife Holcha Krake include several biographical sketches and chronologies of Johnson's life and one biographical sketch of Holcha Krake. Also found is their marriage certificate, eight National Academy of Design award certificates for Johnson's artwork, lists of his artwork, scattered receipts, and addresses written on slips of paper. Also found here is the guestbook for Johnson's show at the Alma Reed Gallery in 1941.
There are eight letters filed in this series, including a letter verifying Johnson was a student at the National Academy of Design, one letter to Johnson from Langston Hughes, two letters from the Barnett Aden Gallery regarding the sale of his work, a letter from the American Minister in Stockholm, a fan letter, a letter to Holcha Krake (in Norwegian) from a friend, and a draft of a letter from Johnson to Mr. Woodruff regarding the sale of a painting. Also found are three postcards sent to Johnson and Krake. Additional letters are found in one of Johnson's scrapbooks.
Item are arranged chronologically within each folder. This series has been scanned in its entirety.
Description Container Select
William H. Johnson Biographies and Chronologies, circa 1939, 1956
1
1
Biography of Holcha Krake Johnson, after 1943
1
2
Marriage Certificate, 1930
1
3
National Academy of Design Award Certificates, 1922-1926
1
4
Lists of Artwork, 1946, 1967
1
5
Alma Reed Gallery Guestbook, 1941
(See also Box 3 for oversized items)
1
6
Receipts, circa 1940s, 1941, 1942
1
7
Addresses, circa 1920s-1940s
1
8
Letters, 1922-1946
1
9
Postcards, 1929, 1926, 1940
1
10
Alma Reed Gallery Guestbook, 1941
(Oversized items scanned with Box 1, Folder 6)
3

Series 2: Printed Material , 1928-1971
(Box 1-3; 0.3 linear feet)

Printed Material documents William H. Johnson's career as an artist in both the United States and Europe. Included are a collection of magazine and newspaper clippings compiled by Johnson as resource material for his paintings. These clippings consist of advertisements and articles on current events. Also found are exhibition catalogs for solo shows, group shows, and joint shows of Johnson and Holcha Krake's artwork. Many of these catalogs are for exhibitions of artwork by African American artists at the Harmon Foundation. Numerous news clippings found in this series provide information about Johnson, Krake, their artwork, and exhibitions. Included are clippings from the United States, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Also found here are two brochures on African American artists published by the Harmon Foundation.
Researchers should note that some of these foreign clippings were partially translated by the Harmon Foundation and are found in their records in Series 5.
Items are arranged in chronological order within each folder. This series has been scanned in its entirety.
Description Container Select
Resource Material for Paintings, circa 1945-1946
(See also Box 3 for oversized items)
1
11
Exhibition Catalogs, 1928-1968
1
12
News Clippings, U.S., 1931-1941
1
13
News Clippings, U.S., 1943-1946
1
14
News Clippings, U.S., 1956-1958, 1971
1
15
Undated News Clippings, U.S., circa 1939-1946
1
16
News Clippings, Norway, circa 1930s
1
17
News Clippings, Sweden & Denmark, circa 1930s
1
18
News Clippings, Sweden & Denmark, circa 1930s
1
19
News Clippings, Sweden & Denmark, circa 1930s
1
20
News Clippings, Sweden & Denmark, circa 1930s
2
1
Brochures on African American Artists, 1935, 1940
2
2
Miscellaneous Printed Material, 1942-1956
2
3
Oversized Resource Material for Paintings, circa 1945-1946
(Scanned with Box 1, folder 11)
3

Series 3: Photographs , circa 1923-1940s
(Box 2-3; 0.2 linear feet)

A small number of photographs include two portraits of William H. Johnson, a photograph of Johnson painting outdoors near Chartres Cathedral, and a photograph of Johnson with his wife Holcha Krake in their studio. Also found are two photographs of Johnson with groups of unidentified people, believed to be students at Charles Hawthorne's summer school in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Additional photographs include a portrait of Mr. and Mrs. David Harriton, four photographs of unidentified places in Europe, Photostats of artwork by Johnson, and a Photostat of a drawing by Holcha Krake for her Bolsershol Tapestry. Additional photographs of Johnson are found in his scrapbook.
Photographs have been scanned in their entirety.
Description Container Select
Photographs of William H. Johnson, circa 1927-1940
(See also Box 3 for Oversized Items)
2
4
Photograph of William H. Johnson & Holcha Krake, circa 1935-1938
2
5
Photographs of William H. Johnson with friends in Provincetown, Mass., circa 1923-1926
2
6
Photograph of Mr. & Mrs. David Harriton, circa 1940s
(Oversized; See Box 3)
2
7
Photographs of Places, circa 1926-1930s
2
8
Photostats of Artwork, circa 1930s
2
9
Photostat of Drawing by Holcha Krake, circa 1930s
(Oversized; See box 3)
2
10
Oversized Photographs of William H. Johnson, circa 1927-1940
(Scanned with Box 2, folder 4)
3
Oversized Photograph of Mr. & Mrs. David Harriton, circa 1940s
(Scanned with Box 2, Folder 7)
3
Oversized Photostat of Drawing by Holcha Krake, circa 1930s
(Scanned with Box 2, folder 10)
3

Series 4: Scrapbooks , 1920s-1947
(Box 2-4; 0.4 linear feet)

This series contains two scrapbooks created by William H. Johnson. One scrapbook consists of biographical documents regarding his career as an artist. Included are news clippings, event announcements, photographs of his artwork, and one award certificate from 1942. This scrapbook also contains photographs, including several portraits of Johnson, Johnson at exhibitions of his work, and several photographs from the 1920s of Johnson at the beach, with friends, and in art class. Also found are letters sent to Johnson, including a 1927 letter from his former teacher Charles Hawthorne, letters from the Harmon Foundation, gallery owner Karl Nierendorf, Reinhardt Galleries, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), Edith Halpert of Downtown Galleries, and other letters of appreciation. Additional items from the scrapbook may have became detached and removed at an earlier date and may be included among other files within the papers.
This series also includes a scrapbook containing postcards collected by Johnson during his travels in Europe.
Loose items from the scrapbook were removed and placed in a separate folder. The scrapbook, 1920s-1947, has been scanned in its entirety. The scrapbook of postcards has not been scanned.
Description Container Select
Scrapbook, 1920s-1947
(Oversized; housed in Box 4)
2
11
Loose Items from Scrapbook, 1920s-1947
2
12
Scrapbook of Postcards, circa 1926-1938
(Oversized; housed in Box 3; not scanned)
2
13
Scrapbook, 1920s-1947
(Scanned with Box 2, folder 11)
4
Scrapbook of Postcards, circa 1926-1938
3

Series 5: Harmon Foundation Research Materials Regarding William H. Johnson , 1950s
(Box 2, OV 5; 0.2 linear feet)

Research materials created by the Harmon Foundation regarding William H. Johnson include seven exhibition panels about Johnson that have original photographs of Johnson and his artwork attached. Also found are reference documents created while researching the news clippings in the William H. Johnson papers that are from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Included are partial translations of the news clippings and photocopies of clippings with annotations regarding date and name of the newspaper. Also included is a list of possible foreign newspapers in which these clippings were found. The original news clippings are located in Series 3: Printed Material.
Annotated photocopies of foreign news clippings of poor quality have not been scanned.
Description Container Select
Exhibition Panels, circa 1950s
(Oversized; Housed in OV 5)
2
14
Typescript Excerpts from U.S. Newspaper Clippings, 1956
2
15
List of Foreign Newspapers, circa 1950s
2
16
Translations of Foreign Newspaper Clippings, Denmark, 1956
2
17
Translations of Foreign Newspaper Clippings, Norway, 1956
2
18
Translations of Foreign Newspaper Clippings, Sweden, 1956
2
19
Annotated Photocopies of Foreign News Clippings, Denmark, circa 1950s
2
20
Annotated Photocopies of Foreign News Clippings, Norway, circa 1950s
2
21
Annotated Photocopies of Foreign News Clippings, Sweden, circa 1950s
2
22
Letter Envelopes (does not include letters), 1957
2
23
Oversized Exhibition Panels, circa 1950s
(Scanned with Box 2, Folder 14)
OV 5

Make a Request

  • To request an appointment to view materials, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reading Room" button. Please note, you will receive the full box.
  • To request reproductions, make your selections using the checkboxes and click the "Reproduction" button.