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A Guide to the J. Ambler Johnston Papers, 1900-1974 Johnston, J. Ambler, Papers Ms1974-012

J. Ambler Johnston Papers, 1900-1974

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms1974-012


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Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
USA
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Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

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Processed by: Special Collections Staff

Repository
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Ms1974-012
Title
J. Ambler Johnston Papers, 1900-1974
Physical Characteristics
9.0 cu. ft. 9 boxes
Creator
Johnston, J. Ambler, (James Ambler), 1885-1974
Location
Please note: This collection is in off-site storage and requires 2-3 days notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from J. Ambler Johnston Papers must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: J. Ambler Johnston Papers, Ms1974-012, Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

Processing Information

An inventory and a description of the J. Ambler Johnston Papers were completed after the materials were donated to the library. Additional description was completed when the finding aid was created in January 2011.


Biographical Note

J. Ambler Johnston (1885-1974), architectural engineer, Civil War historian, and civic benefactor, graduate from VPI in 1904 with B.S and in 1905 with an M.E. In 1906, he received another M.E. from Cornell University and became co-founder of the architectural firm of Carneal and Johnston in Richmond, Virginia.

Carneal and Johnston was responsible for many buildings on the campuses of the University of Richmond (which later awarded Johnston an honorary D.Sc.), VPI, and VMI. Johnston helped rewrite Richmond's building code, was a charter member of the Richmond Rotary Club, and helped found a Civil War Round Table (CWRT) at the State Penitentiary. During World War I, Johnston served with the Richmond Light Infantry Blues (Home Guard). He held offices in several history and science-related organizations, including the Sons of the Revolution, the Society of the Cincinnatus, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Association for the Protection of Virginia Antiquities (APVA), the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Virginia Institute for Scientific Research.

A native of Rockbridge County, Virginia, Johnston was the son of a Civil War veteran. For more than forty years, he was closely associated with Douglas Southall Freeman, noted Civil War author. Both men owned land on which a number of Civil War battles were fought and later donated these lands to the National Park Service. After Freeman's death in 1953, Johnston often presented on the life of his fellow historian. His lecture tours earned him honorary membership in CWRTs in Kansas City, Chicago, Louisville, New York City, the Confederate Historical Society of England, and Richmond. In 1965, he served as chairman of the Richmond Civil War Centennial Committee.

Throughout his life, Johnston maintained close ties with Virginia Tech. He served as president of the Alumni Association, received the 1961 Distinguished Alumni Citation and had a dormitory building named after him in 1966. He lived in Richmond until his death in 1974.

Scope and Content

The J. Ambler Johnston Papers include materials relating to his many activities, with a particular emphasis on Civil War Round Tables and Virginia Tech. Materials consist of correspondence, publications and ephemera, organizational and committee reports, and photographs.

Arrangement

Materials in the collection are arranged by subject matter. Within each topic, materials are arranged in chronological order.

Related Material

The J. Ambler Johnston collection of Civil War maps were removed to the Special Collections Historical Map Collection. A list of these maps is available online here. (This link goes to the list of Civil War map collections. Scroll down to see the J. Ambler Johnston materials.)

Separated Material


Index Terms

    Subjects:

  • Civil War
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
  • University Archives
  • Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Contents List

Box 1
Civil War Centennial Commission, 1956-1958.
Box 1
Civil War Round Table, 1959-June 1960.
Box 1
Civil War Round Table, July 1960-October 1961.
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on Stuart's ride around McClellan, 1862.

Box 1
Civil War Round Table, November 1961-April 1963.
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on the establishment of the Prison CWRT in Richmond.

Box 1
Civil War Round Table, May 1963-1964.
Scope and Contents note

Includes Distinguished Service Award to Prison CWRT.

Box 1
Civil War Round Table, 1965.
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on the CWRT's 25th anniversary; JAJ talk on Douglas S. Freeman.

Box 1
Civil War Round Table, January-August 1966.
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on the history of the CWRT; tour of Booth's escape route; JAJ talk on Grant and Lee.

Box 2
Civil War Round Table, September 1966-April 1967.
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on ceremonies at Fort Harrison.

Box 2
Civil War Round Table, May-December 1967..
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on the Appomattox parole of JAJ's father, Nathaniel Burwell Johnston.

Box 2
Civil War Round Table, January-June 1968.
Scope and Contents note

Includes JAJ talk on Robert E. Lee; JAJ talk "Then It Was Over."

Box 2
Civil War Round Table, July 1968-February 1969.
Box 2
Civil War Round Table, March-August 1969.
Box 2
Civil War Round Table, September 1969-April 1970.
Box 2
Civil War Round Table, May 1970-April 1971.
Box 3
Civil War Round Table, May 1971-April 1972.
Box 3
Civil War Round Table, 1972-1973.
Box 3
Maryland campaign of 1862 along with the routes of Lee and Jackson (notebook); Battle of Sharpsburg or Antietam (notes and scrapbook by C. k. Ragan).
Box 3
Battle of Elkhorn Tavern or Pea Ridge, 1862 (notebook by C. K. Ragan); unveiling of Jackson statue, 1875; trip to Cedar Mountain and Manassa Battlefield, 1960-968; Confederate Museum, 1960-1968; First Manassas and Second Manassas or Bull Run.
Box 3
Richmond Civil War Centennial Commission, 1965-1972.
Scope and Contents note

Includes correspondence, brochures, and other publications by local, state, and national Civil War commissions.

Box 3
Douglas Southall Freeman, 1932-1957, 1960s.
Scope and Contents note

Correspondence with, talks about, etc.

Box 4
Salem Flying Artillery.
Scope and Contents note

Includes copies of the muster roll of Salem Flying Artillery, 1864; newspaper clippings on the commemoration of the Battle of Hanging Rock; military record of JAJ's father, N. B. Johnston; notebook by N. B. Johnston detailing his experiences in the Civil War.

Box 4
Seven Days Campaign.
Scope and Contents note

Includes talks by JAJ; newspaper clippings on campaigns in the Richmond area (1894) between N. B. Johnson and R. A. Holdaway, an officer of the Northern Army of Virginia; resolution at the death of Capt. William B. Newton, Fourth Virginia Cavalry (1863).

Box 4
Civil War Round Table periodicals, brochures, and pamphlets; photographs of individuals at Civil War sites.
Box 4
Echoes of 1861-1961 (by JAJ)--Correspondence, 1970-1972.
Box 4
The War Did Not End at Yorktown (by JAJ)--Correspondence, 1953-1954, 1971..
Box 4
Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, 1964-1972.
Scope and Contents note

Includes correspondence; programs; Jamestown Committee minutes; reports on the restoration of the John Marshall house.

Box 4
Jamestown Society, 1956-1972.
Scope and Contents note

Includes correspondence; newsletters; membership lists.

Box 5
Virginia Historical Society, 1964-1972.
Scope and Contents note

Includes minutes; correspondence; membership lists; draft of a history of the VHS by JAJ, 1972; correspondence on save the Manassas battlefield, 1969.

Box 5
Virginia Institute for Scientific Research, 1969-1972.
Scope and Contents note

Includes correspondence; minutes; financial statements; reports.

Box 6
Sons of the Revolution in the State of Virginia; Society of the Cincinnatus in the State of Virginia; Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence; Sons of Confederate Veterans, 1963-1972.
Scope and Content

Materials include correspondence; minutes; reports.

Arrangement note

The first part of the material in this group is arranged in chronological order, regardless of the organization; the second part is arranged alphabeticall by the name of the society.

Box 6
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 1935-1953, 1965-1966.
Scope and Contents note

Includes speeches before alumni groups; dedication speech for five new dorms, including Ambler Johnston Hall in 1966.

Box 6
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 1967.
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on a proposed alumni camp.

Box 6
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 1968.
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on the "Old Guard" Reunion; interest in an "Alumni House."

Box 6
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, January-June 1969.
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on the Alumni Fund Committee; dedication of Robeson Hall; photos of Ambler Johnston Hall.

Box 7
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, July-December 1969.
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on the proposed name change to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Box 7
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, January-August 1970.
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on a proposed history of VPI and VMI PWA projects.

Box 7
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, September 1970-1971.
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on student disruptions on VPI campus.

Box 7
Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 1972-1973, January 1974.
Scope and Contents note

Includes information on the Diamond Club bar.

Box 7
VPI History Department, 1901-1972 (Bulk 1967-1972).
Scope and Contents note

Includes correspondence on a research fund for Virginia history; encouraging research on the routes of the western migration through Southwest Virginia; first annual Civil War seminar, 1972. JAJ's recollections of his student days at VPI are included with June 1972 correspondence. Also included are JAJ's student diary, 1901, and a diary he kept while Alumni Association president, 1938-1940.

Box 7
Civil War Round Table annual tour portfolios, 1953-1973
Scope and Contents note

Individual portfolios on the following tours include lists of participants, brochures, maps, and other publications relating to battlefield areas: Richmond (3rd), 1953; Central Tennessee (8th), 1958; Charleston and Savannah (9th), 1959; Gettysburg (12th), 1962; Louisiana (14th), 1964; Washington--Booth Trail (16th), 1966; Missouri and Arkansas (17th), 1967; Savannah and Charleston (20th), 1970; Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign (22nd), 1972; Kentucky Blue Grass (special tour), Fall 1972; Gettysburg--Carlisle (23rd), 1973.

Box 8
Recordings of talks by JAJ on Civil War subjects.
Scope and Contents note

Includes 23 long playing records, c.1952-1966; 7 tapes, c.1957-1969; 3 cassettes; 34 dictaphone belts. Also includes plaques and awards given to JAJ by Civil War Round Tables.

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

  • Johnston, J. Ambler, (James Ambler), 1885-1974