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RG3645.AM:  John Reuben Johnson, 1897-1973

Papers:  1939-1973

Wayne, Wayne County, Neb.:  Professor

Size:  7 boxes; 3.5 cu.ft.


John Reuben Johnson was born in Sullivan County, Indiana on October 7, 1897. The son of Charles L. and Margaret E. Johnson, he moved to southern Iowa with his mother and two brothers in 1903. He was the recipient of three academic degrees from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, the B.A. in 1924 and the M.A. in 1927. In 1937, while on the faculty at Wayne (Nebraska) State Teachers’ College, he received the doctorate in history. His dissertation was entitled, Nebraska in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection: A Study in Imperialism.

The bulk of Johnson’s teaching career was spent at Wayne. Arriving at the school in 1935 as head of the Department of History and Government, he subsequently became Chairman of the Division of Social Sciences. Upon retirement from Wayne in 1966, Johnson assumed teaching duties at John F. Kennedy College, Wahoo, Nebraska (1966-1968), and Bellevue College, Bellevue, Nebraska. The student union at the latter institution bears his name.

In 1960 Johnson was appointed to the State Historical Landmark Council where he served until the duties of that body were assigned to the Nebraska State Historical Society in 1969. He held membership in several national and state professional organizations and was the author of several historical articles and book reviews. The biographical approach to history, which he employed in his classroom teaching, was the vehicle for his collection of biographical essays entitled Representative Nebraskans, published in 1954.

Professor Johnson died on August 1, 1973.


This collection consists of seven boxes of manuscript material arranged in nine series: (1) Correspondence, 1939-1971; (2) History Course Materials; (3) Manuscripts; (4) Book Reviews and Articles; (5) Printed Matter; (6) Representative Nebraskans Manuscript; (7) Janice Johnson Materials; (8) Clippings; and (9) Miscellany.

This collection reflects J.R. Johnson’s interest in noteworthy Nebraskans and the teaching and writing of state and national history. The bulk of the collection consists of reference material used in his academic endeavors. Most of the correspondence relates to publications with which Johnson was involved. The course materials retained include class syllabi, reading lists, examinations and notes for courses in historiography and historical biography, as well as for survey courses in American, Nebraska, English and diplomatic history. Articles and book reviews by Professor Johnson and other historians constitute a separate series consisting of published and unpublished material. A large segment of this collection is comprised of newspaper clippings which were used extensively in research for teaching and writing. Some correspondence has been maintained with the appropriate clippings. Most of the clippings are related to the biographical volume, Representative Nebraskans (1954) written by J.R. Johnson. The original manuscript of this book is also contained in the papers. One series of the collection is devoted to academic material of Professor Johnson’s daughter, Janice.

Note:  See the NSHS Library Catalog and the Nebraska History index for published materials by John Reuben Johnson.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1939-1971, n.d.

Box 1


  1. 1939-1971

  2. Undated

  3. B. Guy Chamberlin

Series 2 – History Course Materials

  1. Syllabi

  2. Syllabi

  3. Reference information

  4. Reference information

Box 2


  1. Notes on History of the American West and Historiography (Index card file)

  2. Nebraska History (Index card file)

Box 3


  1. Notes for American History Since 1865; Nebraska History; English (Index card file)

Series 3 – Manuscripts

Box 3


  1. Nebraska History

    a. The First Nebraska Regiment In the Spanish American and Philippine Wars (handwritten; MA Thesis)

Box 4


  1. Nebraska History

  2. J.R. Johnson, “Colonel John Miller Stotsenburg: Man of Valor,” Nebraska History, 50 (Winter 1969) 339-358, with related correspondence

  3. Western History

  4. Wayne State College & Wayne, Nebraska

  5. Miscellany

Series 4 – Book Reviews and Articles

  1. Book Reviews and articles

Series 5 – Printed Matter

  1. Pamphlets relating to American & Western History

  2. Pamphlets relating to American & Western History

Series 6 – Representative Nebraskans Manuscript

Box 5


  1. Manuscript

  2. Manuscript

Series 7 – Janice Johnson Materials

  1. Correspondence, June-September 1951, relating to thesis research

  2. Material relating to M.A. thesis on Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

  3. Material relating to M.A. thesis on Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

  4. Material relating to M.A. thesis on Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

  5. Material relating to M.A. thesis on Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

  6. Examinations and registration materials

Series 8 – Clippings

Box 6


  1. Nebraska History

  2. Nebraska sports figures

  3. Nebraska sports figures

  4. Nebraska sports figures

  5. Nebraskans A-B

  6. Nebraskans C-F

  7. Nebraskans G-H

Box 7


  1. Nebraskans I-M

  2. Nebraskans N-O

  3. Nebraskans P-S

  4. Nebraskans T-Z

  5. Miscellany

Series 9 – Miscellany

  1. Material relating to Sarpy County, Nebraska

  2. Material relating to Ward Reynoldson, Iowa State Supreme Court Justice

  3. Material relating to Orville Babcock Memorial Association



America — Biography

Biographies — Nebraska

Chamberlin, Berlin Guy, 1894-1967

Educators — Nebraska


History — Outlines, syllabi, etc.

History — Study and teaching

Johnson, Janice

Johnson, John Reuben, 1897-1973

Morrison, Frank Brenner, 1905-2004

Nebraska — Authors

Nebraska — Biography

Nebraska — Sports figures

Nebraska. Legislature

Philippines — History — Philippine American War, 1899-1902

Spanish-American War, 1898

Teachers — Nebraska

Wayne State College (Wayne, Neb.)


DHH/ht   03-19-1974

Encoded TMM   05-11-2010