Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874-1971

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Writer, educator.

From the description of Reminiscences of Alvin Saunders Johnson : oral history, 1960. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 309739664

Chairman of the New School's University of Exile, and associate editor of the Encyclopaedia of the social sciences.

From the description of Correspondence with Johan Thorsten Sellin, 1933-1936. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 238235085

Head of the New School for Social Research.

From the description of Correspondence with Margaret Naumburg, 1928-1954. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 63585461

Educator, editor, author, liberal activist, and president of the New School for Social Research, New York. He was involved in the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, in the establishment of refugee settlements in North Carolina before World War II, and in the New York State Commission Against Discrimination that produced the Ives-Quinn Act.

From the description of Papers, 1898-1971. (University of Nebraska - Lincoln). WorldCat record id: 31529602

Alvin Saunders Johnson (1874-1971) was an educator and writer on social, political, and economic subjects. In 1917, Johnson joined the New Republic as an editor, was an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (1927-1930), and was a member of the editorial council of the Yale Review (1927-1947). Between 1943-1945, he served on two commissions dealing with discrimination in employment in New York State. Johnson is best known for his work as director of the New School for Social Research in New York where he founded the "University in Exile" in 1933 for European scholars fleeing their homelands.

From the description of Alvin Saunders Johnson papers, 1902-1969 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702206161

Alvin Saunders Johnson (1874-1971) was an educator and writer on social, political, and economic subjects. In 1917, Johnson joined the New Republic as an editor, was an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (1927-1930), and was a member of the editorial council of the Yale Review (1927-1947). Between 1943-1945, he served on two commissions dealing with discrimination in employment in New York State. Johnson is best known for his work as director of the New School for Social Research in New York where he founded the "University in Exile" in 1933 for European scholars fleeing their homelands.

Alvin Saunders Johnson was born on December 18, 1874, and spent his childhood and youth on a farm in northeastern Nebraska. In 1897 he graduated from the University of Nebraska with an A.B. in the classics. After brief service in the army during the Spanish-American War he went on to study economics at Columbia University where he received his Ph.D. in 1902.

From 1901 to 1917 Dr. Johnson taught successively at Bryn Mawr, Columbia, Nebraska, Texas, Chicago, Stanford, and Cornell. Throughout this period he supplemented his teaching by writing and research. In 1902 Putnam's published The Social Evil, Johnson's study of prostitution which had been undertaken at the request of New York City's Committee of Fifteen. While at Columbia he worked on the International Encyclopedia and contributed economic articles to Political Science Quarterly and the Quarterly Journal of Economics . Articles directed to a more popular audience were published in the Atlantic Monthly and the Unpopular Review . In 1916 Dr. Johnson made a study of public library operations for the Carnegie Corporation.

In 1917, on the eve of America's entry into World War I, Johnson gave up his teaching career and joined the staff of The New Republic as economics editor. The recently launched New Republic was at the time one of the major organs in America for liberal expression. During 1919 Johnson joined a group of New Republic colleagues and Columbia professors, including Charles Beard, James Harvey Robinson, John Dewey, and Wesley Mitchell, in founding the New School for Social Research. For the first several years Johnson served as a New School trustee. However, in 1922, when financial and personal problems threatened to close the school, he took charge and served as the school's director until 1945. Under his vigorous leadership the New School quickly became one of the most eminent and influential centers of adult education in the United States. Notable innovations in the school's curriculum included courses in psychoanalysis and public housing.

During his tenure as Director of the New School Dr. Johnson did not hesitate to assume additional responsibilities. In 1927 he joined forces with Edwin R. A. Seligman to develop and edit the monumental Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences . From 1927 to 1947 he served as a member of the editorial council of the Yale Review and was Professor of Economics and Director of General Studies at the Graduate School of Yale during the 1938-1939 academic year. In 1943, with Governor Thomas E. Dewey's support, Johnson became Vice-chairman of New York State's Commission on Discrimination in Employment. The Commission drafted and helped pass the New York Fair Employment Act of 1945. The act later served as a model for the anti-discrimination legislation of other states.

One of Dr. Johnson's most noted programs was conceived in response to Hitler's dismissal of many prominant scholars from their positions in German universities early in 1933. Johnson's idea was to bring these scholars to America and establish them as a group. Financial support for the project was forthcoming and in October of 1933 the "University in Exile" opened its doors. This group of scholars, composed of some of the most talented social scientists in Europe, was eventually incorporated into the New School as a permanent graduate faculty. During 1940, when the Germans invaded Belgium and France, Johnson again went to the aid of foreign scholars. With the help of the Rockefeller Foundation he succeeded in bringing to America nearly two hundred emminent and promising scholars. In 1942 members of this group joined together to form the Ecole Libre des Haute Etudes which remained part of the New School until it became independent in 1946.

Besides his activities as an educator and administrator Dr. Johnson was also a prolific writer, producing nearly a thousand scholarly and popular articles, several novels, two collections of short stories, and an autobiography. The wide ranging themes of Johnson's writings reflect both his remarkably broad interests and his profound faith in the possibility of human progress through education.

Alvin Saunders Johnson died on June 7, 1971.

From the guide to the Alvin Saunders Johnson papers, 1902-1969, (Manuscripts and Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Stokes, Anson Phelps, 1874-1958. Anson Phelps Stokes family papers, 1761-1960 (inclusive), 1892-1958 (bulk). Yale University Library
referencedIn Hermann Broch archive, 1872-1990s, 1930-1951 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Glueck, Sheldon, 1896-1980. Papers of Sheldon Glueck, 1916-1972 (inclusive). Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
referencedIn Robert Pick papers, 1915-1977. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874-1971. The reminiscences of Alvin Johnson, 1960, [microform]. Yale University Library
referencedIn Papers, 1916-1972 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874-1971. Letter, 1969, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars. Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars records, 1927-1949 (bulk 1933-1945). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn American Scholar, Records, 1926-2006, (bulk 1944-2005) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Rudolf Kolisch papers, 1886-1978. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Pinson, Koppel S., 1904-1961. Koppel S. Pinson papers, 1923-1960, bulk (1940s-1950s). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Max Lerner papers, 1927-1998 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Rogers, James Harvey, 1886-1939. James Harvey Rogers papers, 1904-1963 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Koppel S. Pinson papers, 1923-1960, 1940s-1950s New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn John Collier papers, 1910-1987 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Billikopf, Jacob, 1883-1950. Papers, 1900-1951. American Jewish Archives
referencedIn John Bates Clark Papers, 1848-1955, [Bulk dates: 1874-1938]. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Anson Phelps Stokes family papers, 1761-1960, 1892-1958 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Barnes, Joseph, 1907-1970. Joseph Barnes papers, 1907-1970, 1923-1970. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874-1971. Alvin Johnson letters to Dannie Heineman, 1951-1961. New School for Social Research
creatorOf Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874-1971. Correspondence with Johan Thorsten Sellin, 1933-1936. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Fillebrown, Charles Bowdoin, 1842-1917. Charles Bowdoin Fillebrown papers, 1879-1928 (bulk 1897-1917). Library of Congress
referencedIn Clark, John Bates, 1847-1938. John Bates Clark papers, 1848-1955 (Bulk dates: 1874-1938). Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Inc. Records, bulk 1927-1934. Hampshire College, Harold F. Johnson Library
referencedIn American Scholar records, 1926-2006 (bulk 1944-2005). Library of Congress
creatorOf Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874-1971. Papers, 1898-1971. University of Nebraska - Lincoln
referencedIn Correspondence, 1860-1979. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874-. Alvin Saunders Johnson papers, 1902-1969 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars records, 1927-1949, 1933-1945 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Jerome New Frank papers, 1918-1972, 1929-1957 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn James Harvey Rogers papers, 1904-1963 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Eastman mss., 1892-1968 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
creatorOf Glueck, Sheldon, 1896-1980. Papers, 1916-1972. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
referencedIn Broch, Hermann, 1886-1951. Hermann Broch archive, 1872-1990 (inclusive) 1930-1951 (bulk). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.). Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1928-1933. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Frank, Jerome, 1889-1957. Jerome New Frank papers, 1918-1972 (inclusive), 1929-1957 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf Ayres, Charles E. Letters, 1915-1963, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Cooley, A. C. Outline of investigations and report on Columbia Basin Project, a proposal : typescript, 1926 September 29. Washington State University, Holland and Terrell Libraries
referencedIn Charles Bowdoin Fillebrown Papers, 1879-1928, (bulk 1897-1917) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf New School (New York, N.Y.). New School Arts and Public Programs, 1931-2008. New School for Social Research
creatorOf New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.). Letters, 1924-1966, to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Inc. Records MG2., 1927-1934 Hampshire College Archives
referencedIn Joseph Barnes Papers, 1923-1970 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Lerner, Max, 1902-2001. Max Lerner papers, 1927-1992 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874-1971. Reminiscences of Alvin Saunders Johnson : oral history, 1960. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Oko, Adolph S. (Adolph Sigmund), 1883-1944. Adolph Oko-Gebhardt correspondence, [ca. 1905]-1941. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Rostovtzeff, Michael Ivanovitch, 1870-1952. Papers, 1897-1968 and n.d. (bulk 1926-1954). Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Collier, John, 1884-1968. John Collier papers, 1910-1987 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Frank, Jerome, 1889-1957. Jerome New Frank papers, 1918-1972 (inclusive), 1929-1957 (bulk). Yale University Library
creatorOf Alvin Saunders Johnson papers, 1902-1969 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Lewis Gannett papers, 1681-1966 (inclusive) 1900-1960 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874-1971. Correspondence with Margaret Naumburg, 1928-1954. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Collier, John, 1884-1968. John Collier papers, 1910-1987 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.). New School photographs and publicity, 1933-1984 (bulk 1944-1977). New School for Social Research
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Abrams, Charles, 1901-1970. person
correspondedWith American Scholar corporateBody
associatedWith Ascoli, Max, 1888- person
associatedWith Baldwin, Roger N. (Roger Nash), 1884-1981. person
associatedWith Barnes, Joseph, 1907-1970. person
correspondedWith Baruch, Bernard M. (Bernard Mannes), 1870-1965 person
associatedWith Berenson, Bernard, 1865-1959. person
associatedWith Billikopf, Jacob, 1883-1950. person
associatedWith Brecht, Arnold, 1884- person
associatedWith Broch, Hermann, 1886-1951. person
associatedWith Brooks, Van Wyck, 1886-1963. person
associatedWith Clark, John Bates, 1847-1938. person
associatedWith Collier, John, 1884-1968. person
associatedWith Colm, Gerhard, 1897-1968. person
associatedWith Columbia University. corporateBody
associatedWith Croly, Herbert David, 1869-1930. person
associatedWith Day, George Parmly, 1876-1959. person
associatedWith DeLima, Agnes. person
associatedWith DeLima, Agnes. person
associatedWith Dewey, John, 1859-1952. person
correspondedWith Dewey, Thomas E. (Thomas Edmund), 1902-1971 person
associatedWith Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963. person
associatedWith Eastman, Max, 1883-1969 person
associatedWith Einstein, Albert, 1879-1955. person
associatedWith Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced Foreign Scholars. corporateBody
associatedWith Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Erler, Adalbert, 1904- person
correspondedWith Fillebrown, Charles Bowdoin, 1842-1917. person
associatedWith Finkelstein, Louis, 1895-1991. person
correspondedWith Fisher, Dorothy Canfield, 1879-1958 person
correspondedWith Frankfurter, Felix, 1882-1965 person
associatedWith Frank, Jerome, 1889-1957. person
correspondedWith Gannett, Lewis, 1891-1966 person
associatedWith Glueck, Sheldon, 1896-1980. person
associatedWith Hand, Learned, 1872-1961. person
associatedWith Heimann, Eduard, 1889-1967. person
associatedWith Heimedinger, Leo. person
associatedWith Heimedinger, Leo. person
associatedWith Heineman, Dannie N., 1872-1962 person
associatedWith Hirsch, Julius, 1882-1961. person
correspondedWith Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966 person
associatedWith Huxley, Julian, 1887-1975. person
associatedWith Kilpatrick, William Heard, 1871- person
correspondedWith Kolisch, Rudolf, 1896-1978 person
associatedWith Lamont, Corliss, 1902- person
associatedWith Lamont, Thomas William, 1870-1948. person
associatedWith Lehman, Hebert Henry, 1878-1963 person
associatedWith Lehman, Herbert Henry, 1878-1963. person
associatedWith Lerner, Max, 1902- person
associatedWith Lerner, Max, 1902- person
associatedWith Lerner, Max, 1902-2001. person
associatedWith Lippmann, Walter, 1889-1974. person
associatedWith Lowe, Adolph, 1893- person
associatedWith MacLeish, Archibald, 1892-1982. person
associatedWith Mann, Thomas, 1875-1955. person
associatedWith May, A. Wilfred, 1900-1969. person
associatedWith Mumford, Lewis, 1895-1990. person
associatedWith New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith New School for Social Research (New York, N.Y.). Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science. corporateBody
associatedWith New School (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Oko, Adolph S. (Adolph Sigmund), 1883-1944. person
correspondedWith Pick, Robert, 1898- person
associatedWith Pinson, Koppel S., 1904-1961. person
correspondedWith Pound, Louise, 1872-1958 person
associatedWith Rogers, James Harvey, 1886-1939. person
correspondedWith Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962 person
associatedWith Rosenwald, Lessing J. (Lessing Julius), 1891-1979. person
associatedWith Rostovtzeff, Michael Ivanovitch, 1870-1952. person
associatedWith Rothschild, Robert de. person
associatedWith Rothschild, Robert de. person
associatedWith Safford, Frank, person
associatedWith Scherman, Harry, 1887- person
associatedWith Simons, Hans. person
associatedWith Simons, Hans. person
associatedWith Stokes, Anson Phelps, 1874-1958. person
associatedWith Yale University corporateBody
associatedWith Yale University. Faculty. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States--Race relations
New York (State)
New York (State)
Europe
Europe.
Germany.
United States
Germany
New York (State)
United States
Subject
Educator--Interviews
World War, 1939-1945--Refugees--Sources
Political refugees
Education--History
Fund raising
World War, 1939-1945
Adult education
Race discrimination--Law and legislation--History--Sources
Education--United States--History
Social sciences--Dictionaries and encyclopedias
Authors--Interviews
Economics
Refugees, Political
Occupation
Educators
Authors
Philanthropists
Function

Person

Birth 1874-12-18

Death 1971-06-07

Americans

English

Information

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