Johnson, Niel M. Papers

Dates: Date Span: 1945-2006. Bulk Date Span: 1977-1992

Archivist, Harry S. Truman Library, 1977-1982

The papers of Niel M. Johnson include photographs, press clippings, and other items relating to President Harry S. Truman and the Truman Library. Most of these items, which focus on the Truman Library, were produced while Johnson served as a library archivist and oral historian from 1977 to 1992.

[Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List]

ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

Size: 5 linear inches (about 400 pages).
Access: Open.
Copyright: The donor gave his copyright interest in this collection, and in any other collection of papers at the Harry S. Truman Library, to the U.S. Government. Documents created by U.S. Government officials in the course of their duties are also in the public domain. The copyright interest in other documents in this collection presumably belongs to the creators of the documents, or their heirs.
Processed by: Mary Horn (2017) as part of the Truman Library Internship Program.
Supervising Archivists: Randy Sowell and David Clark.


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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Niel M. Johnson was born in Illinois and graduated from Moline High School in 1949. He attended Augustana College and graduated in 1953. After working as a public school teacher and as an historian at the U.S. Army Weapons Command, Johnson continued his study of American history at the University of Iowa. He earned his M.A. in 1965 and a Ph.D. in 1971.

From 1967 to 1976, Johnson was a professor at Augustana College, Dana College, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha. In 1977 Johnson joined the Harry S. Truman Library staff as an archivist and oral historian. He retired from his work at the library in 1992. Johnson maintained his connection to President Truman through his performances as a Harry Truman impersonator.

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COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The papers of Niel M. Johnson include photographs, press clippings, and other items relating to President Harry S. Truman and the Truman Library. Most of these items, which focus on the Truman Library, were produced while Johnson served as a library archivist and oral historian from 1977 to 1992. The collection is arranged as a one-series Subject File consisting of a photo album and two scrapbooks.

The photo album contains photographs and a few press clippings dating from 1945 to 2006. Many of these photos were taken by Niel Johnson himself and illustrate Truman Library events such as the construction of new exhibits, renovation work, building expansion, Harry S. Truman Public Service Award and Truman Scholarship Award ceremonies, Truman Library Institute meetings, and others library events throughout this time period. Notable events documented in the photo album are visits to the library by Jimmy Carter and Coretta Scott King (both received the Truman Public Service Award), Bess Truman's internment service, and Margaret Thatcher's visit to the library. The photo album also contains photographs of Niel Johnson performing his duties and day-to-day events at the library. These photos provide an account of the physical look of the library over time, various archival projects, and museum exhibits. The photos are accompanied by captions provided by Johnson.

The scrapbooks, collectively covering the years 1977-1991, contain newspaper clippings relating to Harry Truman and the Truman library, items from Truman Library events during this time period, and documents relevant to Truman Library staff such as newsletters, telephone directories, and announcements from the library director. The newspaper clippings, from the Independence Examiner and Kansas City Star, among other news sources, document major Truman Library events such as the 1978 museum theft, Truman Scholarship announcements, Jimmy Carter's visit to the library, and museum exhibit openings. Some of the press clippings do not concern the Truman Library directly, but are about Harry Truman's relatives and new findings or opinions concerning both the Truman administration and Harry Truman himself.

More information on the history of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum can be found in the records of the Harry S. Truman Library Institute and the records of the Harry S. Truman Library (Record Group 64).

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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS

Container Nos.

 

Series

1

  SUBJECT FILE, 1945-2006
Photographs, press clippings, and other items relating to President Harry S. Truman and the Truman Library. Arranged alphabetically by folder title and thereunder chronologically.
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FOLDER TITLE LIST

SUBJECT FILE, 1945-2006

Box 1

  • Photo Album
  • Scrapbook, 1977-1982
  • Scrapbook, 1982-1991
[ Top of the page | Administrative Information | Biographical Sketch | Collection Description | Series Descriptions | Folder Title List ]