Biography and History

Walter Johnson was born in Nahant, Massachusetts, on June 27, 1915 to Alfred and Annie Johnson. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth in 1937, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1938 and 1941, respectively. He served on faculty at the University of Chicago, 1943-1957, Oxford University 1957-1958, and the University of Hawaii starting in 1966. He died in June 1985.

In 1952 Johnson became co-chairman, along with Leo Lerner, of the National Committee for Stevenson for President. This committee was organized by members of the Independent Voters of Illinois, a liberal group that became the nucleus of the state chapter of Americans for Democratic Action. With the help of Johnson and this committee, Stevenson received the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952. After Stevenson's defeat to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Johnson accompanied Stevenson on his world tour in 1953.

Over the years, Johnson wrote and edited numerous books. He is the author of The Battle Against Isolation (1944), William Allen White's America (1947), The United States: Experiment in Democracy (with Avery Craven) (1947), How We Drafted Adlai Stevenson (1955), American Studies Abroad (1963), and he co-wrote The Fulbright Program, A History (1965). Johnson was the editor of Selected Letters of William Allen White (1947); Roosevelt & The Russians: The Yalta Conference, by Edward Stettinius Jr. (1949); Turbulent Era: A Diplomatic Record of 40 Years, by Joseph C. Grew (1952); 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Presidents & The People (1960); and The Papers of Adlai Stevenson (1972).

Source: From the finding aid for MC075

  • Walter Johnson Papers on Adlai E. Stevenson. 1952-1955 (inclusive).

    Call Number: MC075

    The Walter Johnson Papers on Adlai E. Stevenson contain Johnson's records as co-chairman of the National Committee for Stevenson for President 1952, more popularly known as the Draft Stevenson Committee at the Democratic Convention. Johnson used these records to later write his book, How We Drafted Adlai Stevenson.