Johnston, J. Ambler, Papers J. Ambler Johnston Papers, 1901-1974 Ms.1974.012

J. Ambler Johnston Papers, 1901-1974 Ms.1974.012


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Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
Business Number: 540-231-6308
specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu

Miles Abernathy, Student Worker, and Special Collections and University Archives Staff

Repository
Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech
Identification
Ms.1974.012
Title
J. Ambler Johnston Papers1901-1974
Quantity
15.4 Cubic Feet, 11 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 and University Archives for more information.
Language
The materials in the collection are in English.
Abstract
The J. Ambler Johnston Papers pertains to his many activities throughout his professional and personal life, especially his involvement with the Civil War Round Table (CWRT) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Materials consist of correspondence, publications and ephemera, organizational and committee reports, and photographs, relating to Johnston's involvement with historical and civic organizations including the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Society of the Sons of the Revolution, Virginia Institute for Scientific Research, Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquites, and the Southern Historical Society and association with Douglas Southall Freeman and the VPI Alumni Association.

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: http://bit.ly/scuareproduction. Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: http://bit.ly/scuapublication. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives (specref@vt.edu or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: [identification of item], [box], [folder], J. Ambler Johnston Papers, Ms1974-012, Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Source of Acquisition

The J. Ambler Johnston Papers were donated to Special Collections and University Archives in 1974.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the J. Ambler Johnston Papers was completed in November 2021. Minimal description was completed 1974, January 2011, and November 2019.

Appraisal

The following maps were deaccessioned in 2019 due to poor condition and availability of information elsewhere.


Biographical Note

Architectural engineer, American Civil War historian, and civic benefactor, J. Ambler Johnston (1885-1974) graduated from Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute (VPI) in 1904 with B.S and in 1905 with an M.S. In 1906, he received another M.S. 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 VPI, Virginia Military Institute, and the University of Richmond (which later awarded Johnston an honorary D.Sc.). 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 historical and scientific 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 his alma mater. He served as president of the VPI Alumni Association and received the 1961 Distinguished Alumni Citation. In 1966, the university named the dormitory Ambler Johnston Hall after him. He lived in Richmond until his death in 1974.

Scope and Content

The J. Ambler Johnston Papers pertains to his many activities throughout his professional and personal life, especially the Civil War Round Table (CWRT) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute. The collection is arranged by topic into five series.

Series I: Civil War Round Table, 1953-1973, includes files, notes, and recordings related to the CWRT, a national organization that promotes the study of the American Civil War through lectures, battlefield tours, and other events. This series has been divided in Subseries A: Files, arranged chronologically, and Subseries B: Recordings and File Packets.

Series II: Civil War, 1930-1972, contains files about the Civil War (not related to the CWRT), such as Johnston's work with the Richmond Civil War Centennial Commission, his ancestor's Civil War service, excursion notes, and book manuscripts.

Series III: Organizations and Societies, 1936-1972, contains files regarding Johnston's involvement in several historic and civil societies: the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Society of the Cincinnatti, Descendents of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, Jamestowne Society, Virginia Historical Society, Society of Colonial Wars, Society of the Sons of the Revolution, Virginia Institute for Scientific Research, Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquites, and the Southern Historical Society.

Series IV: Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 1901-1974, contains files regarding Johnston's long personal and professional relationship with Virginia Tech, including Alumni Association files and correspondence, domintory dedication speeches, correspondence with members of the History Department, including Dr. James I. Robertson, photographs of class reunions, an Johnston's personal diary when he was a student at Virginia Tech in 1901.

Series V: Assorted, 1933-1971, consists of American Revolution book correspondence, maps, and genealogical correspondence not specific to the Civil War.

Arrangement

Materials in the collection are arranged into five series by topic, and each series is arranged by subtopic or chronologically. The collection preimarily remains in original processed order from 1974.

Series Series I: Civil War Round Table, 1953-1973 Subseries A: Files, 1953-1973 Subseries B: Recordings and File Packets, 1952-1973 Series II: Civil War, 1930-1972 Series III: Organizations and Societies, 1936-1972 Series IV: Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 1901-1974 Series V: Assorted, 1933-1971

Related Material

Virginia Tech Special Collections and University Archives also maintains the Carneal and Johnston Glass Negatives, Ms2014-016, and Carneal and Johnston Architectural Drawings, Ms2001-008.

Separated Material

The J. Ambler Johnston collection of Civil War maps were separated to the Special Collections and University Archives Historical Map Collection.

A model sculpture of Sacrifice, one of the Pylon statues in the War Memorial Court, was separated to the Artifact Collection.

Several books have been separated to the Rare Book Collection.


Subjects and Indexing Terms

  • Civil War
  • Faculty
  • Students and alumni
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
  • University Archives
  • University History
  • Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute (1896-1944)
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute (1944-1970)
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1970-)

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the J. Ambler Johnston Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

  • Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-1974
  • Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870
  • Robertson, James I., Jr.

Container List

Series I: Civil War Round Table
1953-1973
  • Subseries A: Files
    1953-1973
    • box-folder 1 folder: 1
      Civil War Round Table
      1955-1957
    • box-folder 1 folder: 2
      Civil War Round Table
      1958
    • box-folder 1 folder: 3
      Civil War Round Table
      1959
    • box-folder 1 folder: 4
      Civil War Round Table
      1960-1961
    • box-folder 1 folder: 5-6
      Civil War Round Table
      1962
    • box-folder 1 folder: 7
      Civil War Round Table
      1963
    • box-folder 1 folder: 8
      Civil War Round Table
      1964
    • box-folder 1 folder: 9-10
      Civil War Round Table
      1965
    • box-folder 1 folder: 12-13box-folder 2 folder: 1
      Civil War Round Table
      1966
    • box 2
      Notebook - Chicago Civil War Round Table Talk, "Grant and Lee - Clairvoyants"
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741966-02-11
    • box-folder 2 folder: 2-3
      Civil War Round Table
      1967
    • box 2
      Notebook - Houston Civil War Round Table Talk, "Battle of Elkhorn Tavern or Pea Ridge, March 7 and 8, 1862" by Cooper K. Ragan
      1967-11-20
    • box 2
      Notebook - "Notes and Scrapbook on the Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) - September 17, 1862" by Cooper K. Ragan
      Undated
    • box-folder 2 folder: 5-6
      Civil War Round Table
      1968
    • box-folder 2 folder: 8-9
      Civil War Round Table
      1969
    • box-folder 3 folder: 1-2
      Civil War Round Table
      1970
    • box-folder 3 folder: 3-5
      Civil War Round Table
      1971
    • box-folder 3 folder: 6
      Civil War Round Table
      1972
    • box-folder 3 folder: 7
      Civil War Round Table
      1973
    • box 5
      Civil War Round Table Photograph Collection
      1953, 1959, 1963, 1965-1966,1968-1972, Undated
    • box-folder 9 folder: 8
      "The Seven Days Campaign and Afterward" Transcript and Notes
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741969
  • Subseries B: Recordings and File Packets
    1952-1973
    • box 9
      Tape Recording, "Dr. Douglas S. Freeman"
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-1974Undated
    • box 9
      Tape Recording, "James Ambler Johnston on Lee and Dr. Freeman"
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741957-01-17
    • box 9
      Tape Recording, "Judah P. Benjamin" by S.I. Neiman, Chicago Civil War Round Table
      1966-09-14
    • box 9
      Tape Recording, "The Last Six Months" by Pete Long, Kansas City Civil War Round Table
      Undated
    • box 9
      Tape Recording, "Dr. D.S. Freeman"
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-1974Undated
    • box 9
      Two cassettes, "Chicago CWRT"
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741966-02-10
    • box 9
      Cassette, "After-Speech Discussion, Helm Bruce, Jr. and JAJ"
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741963-05
    • box 9
      Cassette, "JAJ on Douglas Freeman" (Recordings 1, 2, and 3)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741964-01-19
    • box 9
      Cassette, "JAJ on D. Freeman" (Recordings 4 and 5)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741964-01-19
    • box 9
      Cassette, "7-Day Campaign" (Recordings 1 and 2)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-1974Undated
    • box 9
      Cassette, "7-Day Campaign" (Recording 3)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-1974Undated
    • box 9
      Cassette, "Mr. J. Ambler Johnston recalling from notes his 40 year association and friendship with Dr. D.S. Freeman"
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741966-02-25
    • box 9
      Cassette, "An Address by Douglas Southall Freeman to the Chicago Civil War Round Table"
      1953-05-07
    • box 10
      Gettysburg-Antietam 12th Annual Tour
      1962
    • box 10
      Louisiana Battlefields 14th Annual Tour
      1964
    • box 10
      Washington-Booth Trail 16th Annual Tour
      1966
    • box 10
      Missouri-Arkansas 17th Annual Tour
      1967
    • box 10
      Fredericksburg Battlefields 18th Annual Tour
      1968
    • box 10
      Tennessee-Mississippi 19th Annual Tour
      1969
    • box 10
      Savannah-Charleston 20th Annual Tour
      1970
    • box 10
      Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign 21st Annual Tour
      1971
    • box 10
      Kentucky Blue Grass Special Tour
      Fall 1972
    • box 10
      The Vicksburg Campaign 22nd Annual Tour
      1972
    • box 10
      Gettysburg-Carlisle 23rd Annual Tour
      1973
    • box 11
      LP Record, "After Speech Discussion-Reminiscences" by Helm Bruce, Jr. and J. Ambler Johnston
      1963-05
    • box 11
      LP Record, "J. Ambler Johnston on Douglass Freeman" (1 of 3)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741964-01-19
    • box 11
      LP Record, "J. Ambler Johnston on Douglass Freeman" (2 of 3)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741964-01-19
    • box 11
      LP Record, "J. Ambler Johnston on Douglass Freeman" (3 of 3)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741964-01-19
    • box 11
      LP Record, "Chicago Civil War Round Table" (1 of 2)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741966-02-10
    • box 11
      LP Record, "Chicago Civil War Round Table" (2 of 2)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741966-02-10
    • box 11
      LP Record, "Civil War 7 Day Campaign" (1 of 2)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741963-05
    • box 11
      LP Record, "Civil War 7 Day Campaign" (2 of 2)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741963-05
    • box 11
      LP Record, "Cassius Marcellus Clay" by William H. Townsend
      1952-10-17
    • box 11
      LP Record, "Mr. Ambler Johnston Talk At Chicago Civil War Round Table (1 of 3)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741957-01-17
    • box 11
      LP Record, "Mr. Ambler Johnston Talk At Chicago Civil War Round Table" (2 of 3)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741957-01-17
    • box 11
      LP Record, "Mr. Ambler Johnston Talk At Chicago Civil War Round Table" (3 of 3)
      Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741957-01-17
    • box 11
      LP Record, "Judah B. Benjamin" by S.E. Neiman (1 of 3)
      Undated
    • box 11
      LP Record, "Judah B. Benjamin: by S.E. Neiman (2 of 3)
      Undated
    • box 11
      LP Record, "Judah B. Benjamin" by S.E. Neiman (3 of 3)
      Undated
    • box 11
      LP Record, "The Last Six Months" by Pete Long (1 of 3)
      Undated
    • box 11
      LP Record, "The Last Six Months" by Pete Long (2 of 3)
      Undated
    • box 11
      LP Record, "The Last Six Months" by Pete Long (3 of 3)
      Undated
    • box 11
      Charleston-Savannah 9th Annual Tour
      1957
    • box 11
      Central Tennessee 8th Annual Tour
      1958
    • box 11
      On to Richmond 3rd Annual Tour
      1953
    • box 11
      Chicago Civil War Round Table Award Plaque
      1973-05-11
Series II: Civil War
1930-1972
  • box-folder 1 folder: 11
    Newsletter, "The End of A Tragic Struggle"
    1965
  • box-folder 2 folder: 4
    Papers regarding ceremony at Fort Harrison
    1967-03-12
  • box-folder 2 folder: 7
    Papers regarding Robert E. Lee Memorial Association speech by J. Ambler Johnston
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741968-01-21
  • box 2
    Notebook - "Narrative of Pilgrimage to Cedar Mountain and Manassas Battlefields"
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741968-09-04-1968-09-05
  • box 3
    Notebook - "Maryland Campaign of 1862 Along the Routes of Lee and Jackson"
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741970-09-09-1970-09-12
  • box 3
    Copy of Notebook - "Maryland Campaign of 1862 Along the Routes of Lee and Jackson"
    1970-09-09-1970-09-12
  • box 3
    Scrapbook - "Inauguration of the Jackson Statue Tuesday, October 26th, 1875"
    1970-09-17
  • box-folder 4 folder: 1
    Battlefield Guides and The War Did Not End at Yorktown manuscript
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741930-1971
  • box-folder 4 folder: 2
    "Salem Flying Artillery" Papers
    1953-1962
  • box-folder 4 folder: 3
    Civil War Guides and "Salem Flying Artillery" Papers
    1932-1965
  • box-folder 4 folder: 4
    Echoes of 1861-1961 Book Papers and Correspondence
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741948-1973
  • box 5
    Museum of the Confederacy File
    1960-1968
  • box-folder 5 folder: 1
    Douglas Southall Freeman Papers and Correspondence
    1931-1970
  • box-folder 5 folder: 2
    Richmond Centennial and Civil War Committee
    1937-1969
  • box-folder 5 folder: 3
    Richmond at War Book Correspondence and Papers
    1964-1972
  • box 9
    Tape Recording, "The J. Ambler Johnston Day Rotary Club"
    1969-05-20
  • box 9
    Dictaphone Belts, "JAJ Talk on WRVA"
    Undated
  • box 9
    Cassette, "Rotary on Williamsburg"
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741971-04
  • box 11
    LP Record. "Richmond Chamber of Commerce Presenting Award to J. Ambler Johnston"
    1966-01-13
Series III: Organizations and Societies
1936-1972
  • box-folder 4 folder: 5
    Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) Papers
    1964-1972
  • box 5
    Notebook - Jamestowne Society, Notes on History
    1968-02
  • box 5
    Notebook - Jamestowne Society, Notes on History
    1965-11
  • box-folder 5 folder: 4
    Jamestowne Society Correspondence
    1963-1972
  • box-folder 5 folder: 5
    Jamestowne Society Papers
    1936-1961
  • box-folder 6 folder: 1
    Virginia Historical Society
    1962-1967
  • box-folder 6 folder: 2
    Virginia Historical Society
    1968-1969
  • box-folder 6 folder: 3
    Virginia Historical Society
    1970
  • box-folder 6 folder: 4
    Southern Historical Society Index Correspondence
    1962-1972
  • box-folder 6 folder: 5
    Virginia Historical Society
    1971-1972
  • box-folder 6 folder: 6
    Virginia Institute for Scientific Research
    1964-1967
  • box-folder 6 folder: 7
    Virginia Institute for Scientific Research
    1968
  • box-folder 6 folder: 8
    Virginia Institute for Scientific Research
    1969-1972
  • box 6
    Virginia Institute for Scientific Research Financial Statements
    1969-12-31
  • box 6
    Virginia Institute for Scientific Research Financial Statements
    1970-12-31
  • box-folder 6 folder: 9
    Society of Colonial Wars
    1964-1972
  • box-folder 7 box: 1
    Sons of Confederate Veterans
    1974
  • box-folder 7 folder: 2
    Society of the Sons of the Revolution
    1964-1970
  • box-folder 7 folder: 3
    Society of the Sons of the Revolution
    1971-1972
  • box-folder 7 folder: 5
    Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence
    1967-1972
  • box-folder 7 folder: 6
    Society of the Cincinnati
    1964-1972
  • box 9
    Institute of Early American History and Culture Handbook
    1967
Series IV: Virginia Polytechnic Institute
1901-1974
  • box-folder 7 folder: 7
    VPI Alumni Association
    1932-1953
  • box-folder 7 folder: 8
    VPI Alumni Association
    1964-1965
  • box-folder 7 folder: 9
    VPI Alumni Association
    1966
  • box 7
    VPI Dormitory Dedication
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741966-05-16
  • box-folder 7 folder: 10
    VPI Alumni Association
    1967
  • box-folder 7 folder: 11-12
    VPI Alumni Association
    1968
  • box-folder 8 folder: 1-2
    VPI Alumni Association
    1969
  • box-folder 8 folder: 3
    Virginia Tech Name Change Correspondence
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741969
  • box-folder 8 folder: 4-5
    Virginia Tech Alumni Association
    1970
    General

    Institution undergoes a name change in 1970 - from Virginia Polytechnic Institute to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech.

  • box-folder 8 folder: 6
    Virginia Tech Name Change Correspondence
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741970, 1972
  • box-folder 8 folder: 7
    VPI Educational Foundation
    1965-1967
  • box-folder 8 folder: 8
    Virginia Tech Alumni Association
    1971
  • box-folder 8 folder: 9
    Virginia Tech Alumni Association
    1972
  • box-folder 8 folder: 10
    Virginia Tech Alumni Association
    1973-1974
  • box-folder 8 folder: 11
    Virginia Tech Department of History
    1966-1974
  • box-folder 9 folder: 1
    Virginia Tech Faculty and Alumni Correspondence
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741971
  • box-folder 9 folder: 2
    Virginia Tech Faculty and Alumni Correspondence
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741972
  • box-folder 9 folder: 3
    Dr. James I. Robertson Correspondence
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-1974Robertson, James I., Jr.1971-1972
  • box-folder 9 folder: 4
    Frank L. Curtis Correspondence
    1962-1972
  • box-folder 9 folder: 5
    McBryde Hall Photographs and Papers
    1914, 1966-1969
  • box-folder 9 folder: 6
    "Old Guard" Photographs and Notes
    1966
  • box 9
    VPI Alumni Affairs Diary
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741938-1940
  • box 9
    Personal Diary of J. Ambler Johnston
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741901
  • box 9
    Tape Recording, "Dedication of Ambler Johnston Hall"
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741969-10-17
  • box 9
    Cassette, "U of H v. VPI 57 to 29"
    1971-11-13
Series V: Assorted
1933-1971
  • box-folder 5 folder: 6
    The War Did Not End at Yorktown Book Correspondence
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741951-1971
  • box-folder 7 folder: 4
    Genealogical Correspondence
    Johnston, J. Ambler (James Ambler), 1885-19741933-1935, 1963
  • box-folder 9 folder: 7
    Virginia Maps
    1967