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GACA Collection 449. Office of the President. Collection of President O.J. Johnson, 1854-1998: Overview

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Collection Description

Office of the President.  Collection of President O.J. Johnson, 1854-1998.  GACA Collection 449.  5 Records Center Cartons, 2 half Hollinger boxes, 1 flat box, 1 hat box, and 1 oversize folder.

ABSTRACT:
The President O.J. Johnson collection contains correspondence, papers, sermons, and films.  Materials span Johnson’s time as a student, and during his professional career as both a college president and a pastor.  Johnson served as president of Gustavus Adolphus College from 1913-1942.

Biographical Note

Oscar John Johnson was born on 8 October 1870 in Mariadahl, Kansas.  He attended Bethany College before transferring to Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois.  After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1896, he continued his studies at Augustana Seminary where he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1899.  He was ordained in St. Paul, Minnesota, 7 June 1899 and called to Tabor Lutheran Church in McKeesport, Pennsylvania.  In 1902 Johnson accepted the position of President of Luther College in Wahoo, Nebraska where he also served as pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.  In July 1913, Johnson assumed the office of President of Gustavus Adolphus College where he served until his retirement in 1942.

During Johnson’s tenure at Gustavus new construction projects abounded.  These included the Gymnasium, Uhler Hall, the Stadium, the Field House, and Rundstrom Hall  Two endowment campaigns were also carried out under his initiative.  While working at Gustavus, Johnson became active in the work of foreign missions.  From 1914-41 he served as a member of the Foreign Mission Board of the Augustana Lutheran Church, and spent a majority of those years as the body’s President.

Johnson married Amanda Lavinia Lindberg of DeKalb, Illinois on 27 June 1899.  The couple had four sons: Robert Oscar Petrus, Roy Luther Cornelius, Raymond Wendell Nathanael, and Roger Theophilus Lindberg.  O.J. Johnson died 9 March 1946.

Scope and Content

This collection is divided into three series: Personal, Professional, and Miscellaneous.

Personal holds programs, school certificates, notebooks, and films.

Professional includes both academic and religious work.

Academia contains mostly correspondence (see inventory on page 11).

Luther Academy/College encompasses primarily fundraising materials and addresses from Johnson’s time as president.

Gustavus Adolphus College consists of programs, talks and addresses, fundraising materials, and reports from Johnson’s time as president.

Papers has a run of administrative files from his time as president of Gustavus Adolphus College.  Materials include correspondence, publicity, mailings, forms, bills, etc.

Religion comprises articles, reports, and sermons from Johnson’s ministerial career.

Miscellaneous consists of newspaper clippings, photographs, and ephemera.

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