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Johnston, J. Ambler, Papers

J. Ambler Johnston Papers, 1900-1974 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
specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu

Special Collections and University Archives Staff

Repository
Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech
Identification
Ms.1974.012
Title
J. Ambler Johnston Papers1900-1974
Quantity
9 Cubic Feet 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 and University Archives for more information.
Language
The materials in the collection are in English.

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 were completed in 1974. Additional description was completed in January 2011 and November 2019.


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.

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
  • 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

Container 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

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

box 1
Civil War Round Table,
November 1961-April 1963
Scope and Contents

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

box 1
Civil War Round Table,
May 1963-1964
Scope and Contents

Includes Distinguished Service Award to Prison CWRT.

box 1
Civil War Round Table,
1965
Scope and Contents

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

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

Includes information on ceremonies at Fort Harrison.

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

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

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

box 2
Civil War Round Table,
July 1968-Fenruary 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

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

Correspondence with, talks about, etc.

box 4
Salem Flying Artillery.
Scope and Contents

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

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

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

box 4
Jamestown Society,
1956-1972
Scope and Contents

Includes correspondence; newsletters; membership lists.

box 5
Virginia Historical Society,
1964-1972
Scope and Contents

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

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
Arrangement

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.

Scope and Content

Materials include correspondence; minutes; reports.

box 6
Virginia Polytechnic Institute,
1935-1953, 1965-1966
Scope and Contents

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

Includes information on a proposed alumni camp.

box 6
Virginia Polytechnic Institute,
1968
Scope and Contents

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

box 6
Virginia Polytechnic Institute,
January-June 1969
Scope and Contents

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

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

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

box 7
Virginia Polytechnic Institute,
September 1970-1971
Scope and Contents

Includes information on student disruptions on VPI campus.

box 7
Virginia Polytechnic Institute,
1972-1973, January 1974
Scope and Contents

Includes information on the Diamond Club bar.

box 7
VPI History Department,
1901-19721967-1972
Scope and Contents

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

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

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.