A Guide to the James Hugo Johnston Papers 1865-1914 Johnston, James Hugo, Sr., Papers of, 1865-1914 1963-9

A Guide to the James Hugo Johnston, Sr. Papers, 1865-1914

A Collection in
Special Collections and Archives
Collection Number 1963-9


Johnston Memorial Library, Virginia State University

Special Collections and Archives
Johnston Memorial Library
P.O. Box 9406
Virginia State University
Petersburg, Virginia 23806
Phone: (804) 524-5749
Fax: (804) 524-6959
Email: ledwards@vsu.edu
URL: http://www.vsu.edu/library/index.htm

© 2002 By the Board of Visitors of Virginia State University.

Funding: Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Lucious Edwards, Jr. Special Collections and Archives Staff

Special Collections and Archives, Johnston Memorial Library, Virginia State University
Collection number
James Hugo Johnston, Sr. Papers, 1865-1914
The James Hugo Johnston, Sr. papers do not contain any correspondence of a personal nature. Although there is very little correspondence, there are several notebooks maintained by Mr. Johnston; during his lifetime. Several books document the early proceedings of the Peabody Reading Circle and there are some early notes of the formation of the Virginia Teachers Association. There are also a number of notebooks documenting the Johnston household expenses, and a number of speeches. James Hugo Johnston, Sr. was the second President of Virginia State University from 1887-1914.

Administrative Information


There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

James Hugo Johnston, Sr., 1865-1914 , Johnston Memorial Library, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA.

Acquisition Information

A gift to Virginia State University in 1963.

Biographical/Historical Information

James Hugo Johnston was born in Richmond, Virginia., July 29, 1858. Not much is known about his parents. He graduated from the Richmond Normal School in Richmond, in 1876, and that Fall he was elected a teacher in the public schools of his native city. He began in the lowest grade of the system and made his way upward until he was elected principal of the Baker Street group of schools, having twelve teachers under him.

Because of his work at the Baker Street School the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, John L. Buchanan, made him conductor of the Peabody Institute for "colored" teachers held at Lynchburg, Virginia. This was one of the largest and most successful institutes ever held in the state. Here was organized the Virginia Teachers' Reading Circle, and the conductor of the Institute was elected President.

In 1886, Governor Fitzbugh Lee, appointed him a member of the Board of Vistors of the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute. He was also elected Secretay of the Board because of his record at the Baker Street School. Mr. Johnston would also tahe under his administration a three year; Course of study was approved by the State Superintendent and begun in the Institute in June 1889.

In addition to serving as President, he ws professor of Philospohy, Moral Philosphy, and Political Economy. It was in recognition of his ability and worth that Shaw University, as its commencement held on May 23, 1889, conferred on him the degree of A.M.; and in 1882, the Ph. D.

For three years he was corresponding secretary of the Virginia Baptist Sunday School Convention. Mr. Johnston was an active Mason and has worked his way to the highest level in that order. He served two terms each as Grand Master and Grand Commander of the State.

As a member of the chapter, he attended the National Masonic convention held at Chicago in 1887. Here he delivered the opening address, "The True Status of Negro Masonry in America."

Scope and Content Information

The records of the Peabody Reading Circle and the "Virginia Teachers Reading" document the development of profesionalism of Africn american Teachers in Virginia. Minutes, reports and programs covering the period is all that remains of what would become the largest African American profesional organization in Virginia. The record books which were used to keep an account of the family's household expense are also useful for social and family history.

Series Description

Series I.Correspondence,1865,1908 Two letters, One of which is a letter of introduction for a former slave.

Series II.Legal Documents Several items, a teaching contract for the city of Richmond, Court documents concerning a will, an indenture and a petition.

Series III. Printed. Subseries A.Newspaper and Journals. Two African American Newspapers from the 1880's and 1895, V.A. & C.I. Journal. Subseries B. Flyers and Invitations. Flyers and invitation from various schools in and outside of Virginia. Included are items from the Richmond Normal School and the Peabody Normal Institute. Subseries C. Catalogs. Two items, documenting programs conducted at Howard and the Lynchburg Seminary. Sebseries D. Awards, Commissions, and Degrees. some of the honors and awards given to James hugo Johnston, Sr. during his life.

Series IV.Minutes and Reports Mintues and Reports documenting some of the educational activities in Virginia regarding the education of African Americans, most of the material is about V.N. & C.I.

Series V. Ledgers and Account Books A. V.T.A. Record Books, the minutes of the Virginia Teachers Association documetning formation of this group in the 1880's. B. Johnston Home, records, Johnston family record books documenting their day to day activities and expenses.

Series VI.Literary, Speeches Speeches delivered by James Hugo Johnston. The speeches are ranging and provide some information about current issues of the day. The speeches are arranged chronologically, those without dates may be found at the end of the series.

Contents List

Series I: Correspondence
  • Box-folder 1:1
    Correspondence 1865
  • Box-folder 1:2
    Correspondence 1908
Series II: Legal Documents
  • Box-folder 1:3
    Petition-Dismal Swamp Canal Co. n.d.
  • Box-folder 1:4
    Will 1889
  • Box-folder 1:5
    Teaching Contract 1886
Series III: Financial
  • Box-folder 1:6
    Reciept 1885
Series IV: Printed
  • Subseries A: Newspapers and Journals
    • Box-folder 1:7
      The Virginia Seminary Messenger March 1895
    • Box-folder 1:8
      The Industrial Herald October 1882
    • Box-folder 1:9
      The Industrial Herald July 1883
    • Box-folder 1:10
      The Industrial Herald July 1883
    • Box-folder 1:11
      The Industrial Herald August 1883
    • Box-folder 1:12
      The Industrial Herald August 1883
    • Box-folder 1:13
      The Alumni Journal April 1894
    • Box-folder 1:14
      The Virginia School Journal December 1895
  • Subseries B: Flyers and Invitations
    • Box-folder 1:15
      The Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute-Flyers 1887-1889
    • Box-folder 1:16
      Peabody Normal Institute 1888-1891
    • Box-folder 1:17
      The Richmond Normal School Flyers 1887
    • Box-folder 1:18
      Shaw University Flyers 1891-1892
    • Box-folder 1:19
      Hampton Institute Invitation 1888-1893
    • Box-folder 1:20
      Oberlin College-commencement 1888

      State Normal and Industrial School, Alabama Commencement- Invitation 1892, Livingstone College North Carolina commencement 1891, St.Augustine Normal School and Collegiate Institute North Carolina Annual Commencement 1892, The Trustees of Wellesley College Commencement 1889, Fisk University Annual Commencement 1892.

    • Box-folder 1:21
      States Teachers' Association, Program N.C. 1889
    • Box-folder 1:22
      The American Association of Educators of Colored Youth Tennesse 1891
    • Box-folder 1:23
      Transactions of the First Annual Meeting of the Colored Teachers' Association, Ohio 1861
  • Subseries C: Catalogs
    • Box-folder 1:24
      Howard University in the College Chapel, Washington D.C. 1881
    • Box-folder 1:25
      Virginia Seminary, Virginia 1890
  • Subseries D: Awards, Commission, Degrees
    • Box-folder 1:26
      Appointment Board V.S.U 1886
    • Box-folder 1:27
      Honorary Ph.D. degree from Shaw University Membership certificate for the Scootish rites 1892

      Masonic Order 1899

Series IV: Minutes and Reports, 1887, 1894
  • Box-folder 1:28
    V.N. & C.I. 1887
  • Box-folder 1:29
    Peabody Normal Institute 1887
  • Box-folder 1:30
    State Board of Education 1:30
  • Box-folder 1:31
    Normal Report 1894
Series V: Ledgers and Account Books
  • Subseries A: Ledgers
    • Record books about the formation of the Virginia Teachers' Association.
  • Subseries B: Household books
    • Box-folder 2:1
      Bank Deposit Book 1890
    • Box-folder 2:2
      Groceries Account Book 1888-1889
    • Box-folder 2:3
      Groceries Account Book 1890-1891
    • Box-folder 2:4
      Groceries Account Book 1891
    • Box-folder 2:5
      Groceries Account Book 1892
    • Box-folder 2:6
      Groceries Account Book 1892-1893
    • Box-folder 2:7
      Groceries Account Book 1893-1894
    • Box-folder 2:8
      Groceries Account Book 1897-1899
Series VI: Literary, Speeches
  • Box-folder 3:1
    The Public Schools 1876
  • Box-folder 3:2
    Are We Always Right in Obeying the Dictates of Conscience 1878
  • Box-folder 3:3
    Concerning Revival 1878
  • Box-folder 3:4
    To the First Baptist Church Assembled 1880
  • Box-folder 3:5
    the Causes of declining Health Among School children 1883-1884
  • Box-folder 3:6
    The Importance of Morals in Education 1884
  • Box-folder 3:7
    The Retrospect 1884
  • Box-folder 3:8
    The Duty We Owe Posterity 1885
  • Box-folder 3:9
    An Unsolved Problem 1889
  • Box-folder 3:10
    Decision of Character 1889
  • Box-folder 3:11
    The Model Teacher 1889
  • Box-folder 3:12
    Fogs 1889
  • Box-folder 3:13
    The End of Education 1890
  • Box-folder 3:14
    Character Essential to True Manhood 1893-1894
  • Box-folder 3:15
    Some of Our Conceits 1895
  • Box-folder 3:16
    The American Home 1897
  • Box-folder 3:17
    Presiding Bishop and members of the Bishop Confrence (at Oak St.) 1898
  • Box-folder 3:18
    Manliness 1898
  • Box-folder 3:19
    A Christian Life Promoes Vigorous Manhood 1898
  • Box-folder 3:20
    Misconceptions of the Nature and purpose of Education 1899
  • Box-folder 3:21
    No Title 1900
  • Box-folder 3:22
    Christian Education 1901
  • Box-folder 3:23
    Our Duty to Attempt the Impossible 1901
  • Box-folder 3:24
    No Title 1902
  • Box-folder 3:25
    No Title 1902
  • Box-folder 3:26
    The American Home 1902
  • Box-folder 3:27
    Trials and Triumphs of the Negro 1904
  • Box-folder 3:28
    The Nobility of Labor 1905
  • Box-folder 3:29
    Ideals 1907
  • Box-folder 3:30
    Manual Training in Secondary Schools 1907
  • Box-folder 3:31
    Patriotism n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:32
    No Title n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:33
    The True Status of Negro Masonry in America n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:34
    Parental Obedience n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:35
    Alexander The Great n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:36
    Economy among the People Essential to their Progress n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:37
    Lincoln n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:38
    No Title n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:39
    The Pyramids n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:40
    The Status of Our Normal School n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:41
    Our Public Schools and Colleges n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:42
    Heat n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:43
    The Sunday School Teacher n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:44
    To Woodville School n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:45
    Our Educational Status n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:46
    Kindness n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:47
    Does Morality Depend upon the Intelligence of a People n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:48
    No Title n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:49
    No Title n.d.
  • Box-folder 3:50
    No Title n.d.