Collection Summary

Title:John G. Johnson Papers

Date:1846-1918, 1927-1955, 1973-1993, n.d. [bulk: 1880-1918]

Creator(s):Johnson, John Graver, 1841-1917

Extent:26.5 linear feet


Repository:Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Abstract:Born, raised and educated in Philadelphia, John Graver Johnson (1841-1917) became one of the city's preeminent citizens, noted not only for his long and successful practice as a corporate lawyer but also for his extensive collection of European art. The John G. Johnson Papers consist of correspondence, hundreds of photographs and other documents that make evident Johnson's consultation with noted scholars and art dealers and his own methodology in building and refining an art collection. Estate inventories and appraisals and a copy of Johnson's will outline the disposition of those acquisitions and other personal belongings after his death. Also well documented are three of Johnson's European excursions. Oversized photograph albums hold more than twelve hundred images of the sites Johnson took in with his wife Ida. The lives of Johnson and his wife are also chronicled through portraits--Johnson from the ages of six to sixty-six and Ida from little girl to young mother to well-attired matron. Other materials in the collection are two family bibles, a photocopy of an art travel guide written by Johnson and published in 1892 and two documents that likely stemmed from his legal practice.