Arthur Monrad Johnson Papers, ca.1915-ca.1940

Overview of the Collection

Johnson, Arthur Monrad
Arthur Monrad Johnson Papers
ca.1915-ca.1940 (inclusive)
3 containers., (1.5 linear feet of shelf space.), (650 items.)
Collection Number
Cage 45
Research notes, drafts and drawings of the genus Saxifraga, including approximately 350 drawings of Saxifraga specimens at the herbariums of the University of Montana, the University of Wyoming, and Washington State University.
Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman, WA
Telephone: 509-335-6691
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Arthur Monrad Johnson was born at Fredrikstad in Norway in 1878. He attended the University of Minnesota, receiving his B.S. in 1904. For the next decade he was a high school teacher in Washington and Minnesota, after which he entered graduate school in botany at the University of Minnesota, completing the Ph.D. in 1919. From 1919 to 1927 he held a succession of academic posts at the University of Minnesota, Harvard University and the University of Wisconsin. In 1927, he joined the faculty of the Southern Branch of the University of California (now University of California-Los Angeles), where he remained until retirement. His main interests were taxonomy, ecology and plant geography. The genus Saxifraga occupied much of his attention.

While a high school teacher in Colfax, Washington, Johnson developed a liking for the Eastern Washington region. Perhaps it was for this reason that he directed that his research notes be left at Washington State University upon his death. This attraction to Eastern Washington he explained in 1938 to a young botanist who had complained of the seemingly botanical barrenness of the area:

Your remarks about the Palouse country as compared to California amused me. Of course California,--well it is California, and that's that. But, "when summer comes," I venture to predict that you will begin to attune yourself to the Palouse country. Perhaps you will never thrill over it, as I did, when I landed in Colfax in 1905, from Minnesota, but nevertheless I think you will develop a liking for it, for to my mind it is one of the most fascinating botanizing regions in America. This is true floristically, phytogeographically, and ecologically, the vegetation is soft, friendly, and inviting, like all northern vegetation, not the d--- spiny, prickly, rigid, tangled, skin-and-temper-tearing sort like that of much of southern California, which draws out all the curses of the English Language whenever one tries to press a specimen. Phytogeographically and ecologically I found the "contact" of the eastern, the northern and the boreal, and the southern (Sonoran) floras one of the most fascinating features of the Palouse and adjacent montane floras. I was always searching every nook and cranny for the "outliers" of these vegetation types. The various plant communities, too, were a constant source of interest, for they were many and diverse, and well defined. The buttes, the canyons, the bottom lands,--well, I scoured all of them. When you have covered the marvelous Snake River gorge, the Clearwater gorge, and that of the Palouse, and the foothills of the Bitterroots, if you then haven't gotten some thrills, well,--I think I should take you in hand for a special treatment. A. M. Johnson to Carl Sharsmith, March 6, 1938, Sharsmith Papers

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

A. M. Johnson's papers at Washington State University consist of notes, drafts and drawings used in his study of the genus Saxifraga.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item Description]. Cage 45, Arthur Monrad Johnson Papers. Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Custodial History

The papers of Arthur M. Johnson, 1878-1945, were donated to the Washington State University Herbarium in 1946 by Mrs. Johnson.

Acquisition Information

In 1975 the papers were transferred from the Washington State University Herbarium to the Washington State University Library.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1 Taxonomic problems in Saxifraga Species of Western North America; notes and drafts.
25 leaves.
1 2 Teratological Note on Saxifraga; notes, drafts, and drawings.
55 leaves.
1 3 Geographic Distribution Maps, with notes.
21 leaves.
1 4 Notes on the General Geographic Connections of the California Saxifraga Species; notes, drafts and maps.
37 leaves.
1 5 Notes on Saxifraga; notes on Saxifraga literature.
85 leaves.
1 6 Saxifraga- Synonymy of Sections; notes.
5 leaves.
1 7 New Species of Saxifraga; notes.
26 leaves.
1 8 Haworth's 1821 Enumeration of Saxifraga; notes.
19 leaves.
1 9 Engler, Don, Ledebour and Pursh on Saxifraga; notes.
1 10 University of Colorado Saxifraga Collection; notes.
47 leaves.
1 11 University of Idaho Saxifraga Collection; notes.
2 leaves.
1 12 Oberlin College Saxifraga Collection; notes.
34 leaves.
1 13 University of Montana Saxifraga Collection-list; notes.
19 leaves.
1 14 University of Montana Saxifraga Collection-drawings.
87 leaves.
1 15 University of Montana Saxifraga Collection-explanation of the drawings.
300 leaves.
2 16 Washington State University Saxifraga Collection-list; notes.
125 leaves.
2 17-18 Washington State University Saxifraga Collection- drawings.
257 leaves.
2 19 Washington State University Saxifraga Collection-explanation of drawings.
100 leaves.
3 20 University of Wyoming Saxifraga Collection-list; notes.
80 leaves.
3 21 University of Wyoming Saxifraga Collection-drawings.
220 leaves.
3 22 University of Wyoming Saxifraga Collection-explanation of drawings.
400 leaves.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Saxifraga -- Classification
  • Botany -- Research--West (U.S.)

Personal Names

  • Johnson, Arthur Monrad, 1878- --Archives (creator)
  • Johnson, Arthur, Mrs. waps (donor)