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CAMC Collection 157. Johnson, Chester O. and Marian R. (Swanson). Papers of Chet and Marian Johnson, 1935-2010: Overview

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Collection Description

Johnson, Chester O. and Marian R. (Swanson).  Papers of Chet and Marian Johnson, 1935-2010.  CAMC Collection 157.  1 Records Center Carton.

ABSTRACT:
The Chester and Marian Johnson Papers collection contains correspondence, writings, recordings, talks, and photographs.  Chet Johnson taught Geology and worked as the Lutheran Church Archivist at Gustavus Adolphus College from 1978-2001.  Marian taught in the college’s English Department and worked in the Library.  Furthermore, she started and oversaw the library at Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Peter, Minnesota.

Biographical Note

Chester Otto Johnson was born 1 February 1913 in Moline, Illinois.  After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, he received a master’s degree from the University of Chicago.  Johnson taught Geology at Gustavus Adolphus College from 1940-78 and on a part-time basis from 1978-82.  After retiring as a full-time professor he took over as the Lutheran Church Archivist, a position he held until 2001.

Marian Ruth Swanson was born 5 November 1920 in Dunnell, Minnesota.  She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1941 where she was the second woman to hold the position of editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Gustavian Weekly.  After marrying Chet on 4 November 1944, Marian worked in the English Department at Gustavus throughout the 1940s-50s, and during the 1960s-70s, she worked in the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library.  Marian enjoyed library work; she started libraries at both the elementary school and Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Peter.  She was the first female member of the Trinity Lutheran Church Council as well as the first woman church council member in the Minnesota Synod.  She published many articles and wrote two books concerning to church libraries.

In 1993, Chet and Marian donated an endowment for the Prairie Overlook and Boulder Garden in Linnaeus Arboretum at Gustavus.  In 2001, Walter Youngquist established two endowments at Gustavus in honor of Chet, the Chester O. Johnson Geology Scholarship and the Chester O. Johnson and Walter L. Youngquist Geology Student Research/Field Studies Fund.  The Johnsons also donated an endowment to the College and Lutheran Church Archives to be used to support research and publication related to the college and various synods of the Lutheran Church that established and have supported the college.  In 2002 Chet received the Gustavus Association of Congregations Covenant Award, and Chet and Marian received the Greater Gustavus Award.

The Johnson’s had two children, Christine (Feldman) and Martin.  Chester Johnson died 8 December 2009 and Marian followed on 1 January 2010.

*Information taken from materials within the collection.

Scope and Content

This collection is divided into three series: Chester Johnson, Marian Johnson, and Both Chet and Marian Johnson.

Chester Johnson, 1935-2009 consists of correspondence, chapel talks, radio talks, and sermons by Chester Johnson.  This series is arranged alphabetically.

Marian Johnson, 1946-2010 holds correspondence, gradebooks, talks, writings, and published books by Marian Johnson.  This series is arranged alphabetically.

Both Chet and Marian Johnson, 1944-2004 has audio recordings, talks, correspondence, writings, and photographs about or by both Chet and Marian Johnson together.  This series is arranged alphabetically.

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