Grace Allen (Fitch) Johnson, 1871-1952

Alternative names
Birth 1871
Death 1952

Biographical notes:

Grace Allen Johnson, educator, suffragist, civic reformer, internationalist, and lecturer, was born on September 29, 1871, in Maples, Ind., the fourth of the five daughters of Elizabeth Harriet (Bennett) and Appleton Howe Fitch, both from New England. Among her sisters was the well-known children's author and illustrator Lucy (Fitch) Perkins. The family lived in Indiana and Michigan, settling for a time in Kalamazoo; they returned to Hopkinton, Mass. (ancestral home of the Howe and Fitch families), when Grace was fourteen. She attended public school, graduating in 1890. Her adult life is summarized in the following chronology.

  • 1891: Graduates from Pratt Institute Library School, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • 1891 - 1892 : Works as assistant reference librarian, Pratt Institute
  • 1892: Moves with family to Evanston, Ill.; studies botany at Harvard Summer School
  • 1893: Marries Lewis Jerome Johnson (Harvard A.B. 1887, C.E. 1888) in June
  • 1893 - 1894 : Studies chemistry at Northwestern University
  • 1894: Moves to Cambridge, Mass., where husband joins Engineering Department of Harvard University
  • 1896: Hhas son, Jerome Allen
  • 1902: Has second son, Chandler Winslow
  • 1907: Travels to Europe with family, becomes interested in woman suffrage
  • 1911 - 1915 : Serves as president, Cambridge Political Equality Association
  • 1912: One of three Massachusetts women delegates to Progressive Party national convention in Chicago; campaigns for Progressive Party candidates
  • 1912 - 1914 : President, Cambridge Public School Association
  • 1914 - 1917 : Congressional chairman, Middlesex County and Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association (MWSA)
  • 1915 - 1917 : Member, National Council, National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA)
  • 1917: Chairman, State Board of MWSA
  • 1918: Defeat of anti-suffrage Sen. John Weeks (Mass.)
  • 1919 - 1920 : With Mary P. Sleeper, edits A Citizen's Guide for Boston Equal Suffrage Association for Good Government
  • 1919 - 1940 : Lecturer, Garland School for Homemaking, Boston
  • 1920: Name entered on honor roll of NAWSA
  • 1922: Executive secretary, Massachusetts Woodrow Wilson Foundation
  • 1923: Member of Council, Massachusetts Foreign Policy Association
  • 1924: Attends Women's International League for Peace and Freedom convention, Washington, D.C.
  • 1925: Member, Board of Directors, Massachusetts League of Nations Association (LNA)
  • 1926 - 1933 : Chairman (state), Educational Committee, LNA
  • 1926: Spends Sept. in Geneva, Switzerland, attending commissions, council, and assembly of League of Nations
  • 1927 - 1938 : Lecturer, Wheelock Kindergarten Training School
  • 1928: Campaigns for Herbert Hoover
  • 1929: Member, Massachusetts Women's Law Enforcement Committee
  • 1929 - 1930 : Lecturer, Boston University School of Education; lecturer, Massachusetts Department of Education, University Extension
  • 1930 - 1938 : President, Board of Trustees, Garland School
  • 1930: Name entered on 10th anniversary honor roll of suffrage pioneers; member, National Council, LNA; writes Text for a Model Council and A Model Assembly of the League of Nations; writes The Dispute between Bolivia and Paraguay, 1930; testifies before U.S. Congress in support of prohibition
  • 1931: Writes The Case of the S.S. Lotus and the World Court; produces map showing disputes settled by World Court
  • 1932: Writes and supervises production of The Dispute Between China and Japan over Manchuria: A Dramatization of the 65th Session of the Council of the League of Nations
  • 1933: With Sir Herbert Ames, writes The Case of China and Japan before the League of Nations: A Dramatization of the Events of 1931-1933
  • 1937: Public Forum leader (U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Education), Manchester, N.H.
  • 1940: Delegate to Woman's Centennial Congress; Cambridge (Mass.) adopts "Plan E" form of government
  • 1952: Dies on January 17

Politically liberal, GAJ was an activist for woman suffrage, for United States participation in the League of Nations (and later the United Nations) and World Court, and for various civic reforms (e.g., initiative and referendum, proportional representation). She defined herself as an educator, lecturing and writing on a wide range of topics including suffrage, the status of women, prohibition, aspects of democracy and government structure, international cooperation, and public speaking techniques. Her husband, a civil engineer, shared her political beliefs; he published numerous pamphlets on political reform.

For additional biographical information see folders #Jo 1 and #Jo 5 in this series. The papers of Lewis Jerome Johnson are in the Harvard University Archives.

From the guide to the Papers in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1840-1952, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)


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  • *Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


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  • Massachusetts. Department of Education. Division of Continuing Education (as recorded)
  • Cambridge (Mass.)-Politics and government (as recorded)
  • Massachusetts-Politics and government (as recorded)
  • Boston, (Mass.)-Politics and government (as recorded)
  • United States-Politics and government (as recorded)