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Catalog Number 101.21
Title Frederick Johnson papers
Date circa 1850-1980
Collection size 4 linear feet
Creator Johnson, Frederick, 1904-1994
Administrative/Biographical History Frederick Johnson (1904-1994) was born to parents Harry W. and Mertina Hancock Johnson in Everett, MA. At the age of 13, noted anthropologist Frank Speck included him on an ethnological field trip to Northern Quebec, and Johnson went on to study with Speck at the University of Pennsylvania. Ultimately Johnson returned to Massachusetts to receive a BA in sociology from Tufts College in 1929, and did some graduate work at Harvard University before joining the Robert S. Peabody Foundation for Archaeology as Curator in 1936. He held this position until 1968, then served one year as Director before retiring in 1969. He married Dorothy Murfitt in 1933; they had no children.

Johnson is recognized for contributing to the development of an interdisciplinary approach to archaeology, in which scientists from a variety of fields were brought together to study archaeological problems. He successfully organized the collaboration of fifteen scientists on the Boylston Street Fish Weir project in 1939 in Boston, MA, and later, organized a similarly successful small group expedition, the Andover-Harvard Yukon Expedition in Alaska in 1944 and 1948. At Phillips Academy, Johnson initiated an archaeological excavation program for students. On the national level, he organized the Committee for the Recovery of Archaeological Remains, 1945-1968, and chaired the American Anthropological Association's Committee on Radioactive Carbon 14, 1948-1968. He also took ethnographic photographs of American Indians during his archaeological expeditions, and his photographic records of First Nations groups in Canada in the 1930s continue to generate interest to this day.
Scope & Content This collection contains papers related to Frederick Johnson, his family and his house, and photographs taken by him. There is an undated family photograph album, correspondence from the mid-19th century, files about genealogical research, a formal portrait of Johnson as an older man, and files about Johnson's Groveland house at 1 Woodlawn Road, Andover, MA (the house was built on land purchased from Phillips Academy in 1937).

This collection also includes albums of photographs, many of American Indians, taken by Johnson during expeditions in Canada, Mexico, Central America and the United States.

The materials have been arranged into two series:

Series I. Family papers and photographs
Series II. Photograph albums and field journals
Conditions Governing Access This collection is open for research.
Language of Material English