Johnston, G. Burke Papers

A Guide to the G. Burke Johnston Papers, 1900-1992 Ms.1983.005


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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

John M. Jackson

Repository
Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech
Identification
Ms.1983.005
Title
G. Burke Johnston Papers,1900-1992
URL:
http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/vivaxtf/view?docId=vt/viblbv01132.xml
Quantity
5.7 Cubic Feet 12 boxes
Creator
Johnston, G. Burke (George Burke), 1907-1995
Language
The materials in the collection are in English.
Abstract
This collection consists of papers--including correspondence, subject files, printed materials, and photographs--of George Burke Johnston, literary scholar and faculty member / administrator at Virginia Tech and the University of Alabama; U.S. Army officer; poet; author; artist; and printer.

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

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: [identification of item], [box], [folder], G. Burke Johnston Papers, Ms1983-005, Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Source of Acquisition

The G. Burke Johnston Papers were donated to Special Collections in several accruals, dated 1985, 1988, and 1990-1993.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the G. Burke Johnston Papers commenced in March, 2013 and was completed in April, 2013. Some preliminary processing seems to have occurred at the time of acquisition.


Biographical Note

George Burke Johnston, the son of George D. and Eleanor McCorvey Johnston, was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on September 8, 1907. After graduating from the University of Alabama (BA, 1929), Johnston obtained his master's and doctoral degrees in English from Columbia University (1930 and 1943, respectively). In 1936, he married Mary Tabb Lancaster (1916-2003), the daughter of Dabney S. Lancaster; the Johnstons would have four children. Johnston served as an English instructor at Virginia Tech from 1930 until 1933, when he returned to the University of Alabama to join the English Department as a professor.

Johnston became a well known Shakespearean scholar as well as an expert on English dramatist/poet Ben Jonson, about whom he wrote his dissertation and published two books: Ben Jonson, Poet (1945) and The Poems of Ben Jonson (1955). He held fellowships at Columbia University, Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Southeastern Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Johnston's tenure at Alabama was interrupted by World War II, during which he served as a major in the U. S. Army. Following active duty, he returned to Alabama an assistant professor of English before being named assistant dean of arts and sciences. In 1950, he was named dean of applied science and business administration at Virginia Tech. He was appointed dean of science and general studies in 1961, and in 1963 became the first dean of the university's College of Arts and Sciences, a position in which he served until 1966, when he was named C. P. Miles Professor of English. He retired in 1974.

In his later years, Johnston maintained a number of personal interests. He continued to publish books on his interests, editing Poems by William Camden (1975) and writing Thomas Chalmers McCorvey: Teacher, Poet, Historian (1985), a biography of his maternal grandfather. Johnston operated a home printing press on which he published his works, issuing them under the name White Rhinoceros Press. He was a skilled artist, working in pencil, paint, clay, and wood; and was licensed as an Epicopal lay minister. George Burke Johnston died on January 1, 1995.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the papers of George Burke Johnston, an English professor and university administrator at Virginia Tech and the University of Alabama; literary scholar; poet; author; artist; printer; and U. S. Army officer. The collection includes typescripts and proof copies of several of Johnston's books, as well as correspondence with editors and publishers relating to same. The correspondence files also include letters exchanged with friends and fellow scholars. Also within the collection are drafts and printed copies of Johnston's shorter works (poems, essays, and book reviews) and copies of works printed by him under his own imprint, White Rhinoceros Press. Johnston's interest in the fine arts is represented in materials relating to theatrical productions and other events, and his military career is documented in a set of files containing personnel records, orders, correspondence, and photographs.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in four Series:

Series I. Writings, 1945-1992. Contained in this series are drafts and proofs of Johnston's books (including Alabama Historical Sketches, which he edited), as well as various book reviews, essays, poetry, and speeches. Included among the poems and essays are some of the works he published as White Rhinoceros Press. Major titles arranged alphabetically, followed by smaller works, arranged by genre.

Series II. Military, 1925-1967. Johnston's association with the U.S. Army is documented in this series. Included are personnel and retirement records, orders, certificates, and printed materials, as well as both official and personal correspondence. The photographs in the series relate not only to Johnston's military service but his later attendance as a college administrator visiting ROTC Summer Camp at Fort Meade, Maryland and Fort Knox, Kentucky. Arranged by document type.

Series III. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1930-1989. This series contains materials relating to Johnston's activities at Virginia Tech. Included are files on Founders Day and the Visiting Scholars Program. A folder of correspondence covers a wide variety of university-related subjects but particularly focuses on Johnston's personal milestones, particularly his 1950 hire as dean of applied science and business administration. The series also contains a folder of materials relating to various Virginia Tech events, including programs for a 1963 football banquet, banquets honoring Harry W. Sanders and Martha G. Creighton, and the inauguration of Virginia Tech President Thomas Marshall Hahn Jr.; dedications of Williams and Randolph halls and Newman Library; texts of speeches delivered by Edward LeRoy Long, Jr. ("Piety, Moralism, and Vocation") and Jan Karski ("The Nature of the Communist Threat"); and a history of the Division of Arts and Sciences. A small collection of photographs completes the series.

Series III. Theater and Fine Arts, 1900-1983. This series contains materials relating to Johnston's interest in the arts. Included are promotional materials for theatrical production companies that Johnston was likely instrumental in securing for performances at Virginia Tech. The series also contains events and memorabilia from theatrical and musical productions at Virginia Tech. A folder relating to local and regional fine arts and theater events includes materials about the Barter Theatre, "The Long Way Home" outdoor historical drama, the Blacksburg Art Association Festival, and the Blacksburg Music Club. The majority of the series, however, consists of programs from non-local productions. The series also contains a small collection of sheet music.

Series IV. Subject / Correspondence Files, 1904-1993. This series relates mostly to Johnston's literary scholarship, published works, personal relationships, interest in printing and art, and his duties as a faculty member and university administrator. Included are letters, printed materials, and photographs from friends, colleagues, editors, and publishers. Johnston's literary interests included, but were not limited to, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, William Camden, and J. R. R. Tolkien. (The letters housed in the collection from Tolkien and his daughter Priscilla to Johnston are photocopies only. Special Collections does not hold the original letters.) A single folder bearing Johnston's name contains a few pieces of biographical material, photographs, and a number of sketches and small watercolors executed by him. The series is arranged alphabetically by correspondent / subject, though materials relating to a single topic may appear in several different folders. Arranged alphabetically by correspondent or subject.

Series V. Microfilm, 1952-1972. This series is comprised of microfilm copies of rare literary works made for Johnston during the course of his research. The series contains selected pages from a number of works from Elizabethan and Stuart England, with a particular focus on poems by Ben Jonson.

Separated Material

The following items were removed from the collection and cataloged for the Rare Book Collection:

Gridiron Guide. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech Athletic Association, 1969. (LD5655 A3 T42 1969 VPI Spec)

Davis, Jefferson. Relations of States. Baltimore: J. Murphy & Co., 1860. (E438 D261 c. 2 Civil War Spec)

Leary, Lewis, ed. Mark Twain's Letters to Mary. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961. [inscribed by the ed.] (PS1331 A3 R6 c.2 Large Spec)

The following item was removed from the collection and added to the Historical Map Collection:

Map of James River, Virginia and Vicinity: Virginia Navigation Company. E. A. Barber, Jr. 1899.


Subjects and Indexing Terms

  • Faculty
  • 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 G. Burke 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, G. Burke (George Burke), 1907-1995

Container List

Series I. Writings,
1945-1992
  • box-folder 1 folder: 1
    Alabama Historical Sketches typescript,
    n.d.
    [2 folders]
  • box-folder 1 folder: 2
    A Brief Review of the First Half-Century of the Alpha Omicron Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa,
    1983
  • box-folder 1 folder: 3
    Ben Jonson: Poet typescript draft,
    1945
  • box-folder 1 folder: 4
    Ben Jonson: Poet proofs,
    n.d.
  • box-folder 1 folder: 5
    Poems by William Camden typescript [photocopy],
    n.d.
  • box-folder 1 folder: 6
    Poems of Ben Jonson typescript draft,
    n.d.
    [2 folders]
  • box-folder 2 folder: 1
    Poems of Ben Jonson proof,
    1954
  • box-folder 2 folder: 2
    "Thomas Chalmers McCorvey" first draft,
    n.d.
    [4 folders]
  • box-folder 2 folder: 3a and 3bbox-folder 3 folder: 1
    "Thomas Chalmers McCorvey" second draft,
    n.d.
    [3 folders]
  • box-folder 3 folder: 2
    Thomas Chalmers McCorvey: Teacher, Poet, Historian [Final Draft],
    1985
    [2 folders]
  • box-folder 3 folder: 3
    Thomas Chalmers McCorvey: Teacher, Poet, Historian galley proof,
    1985
    [2 folders]
  • box-folder 3 folder: 4
    Book reviews,
    1948-1970, n.d.
  • box-folder 3 folder: 5
    Essays,
    1967-1978, n.d.
  • box-folder 3 folder: 6
    Poetry,
    1949-1992, n.d.
  • box-folder 4 folder: 1
    Speeches and sermons,
    1970-1977, n.d.
Series II. Military,
1925-1967
  • box-folder 4 folder: 2
    Records,
    1925-1967
  • box-folder 4 folder: 3
    Correspondence,
    1941-1953, n.d.
  • box-folder 4 folder: 4
    Photographs,
    1943-1960, n.d.
  • box-folder 4 folder: 5
    Printed material,
    1941-1967, n.d.
Series III. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,
1930-1989
  • box-folder 4 folder: 6
    Founders Day,
    1977-1988, n.d.
  • box-folder 4 folder: 7
    Visiting Scholar Program,
    1951-1969, n.d.
  • box-folder 4 folder: 8
    Correspondence,
    1930-1989
  • box-folder 4 folder: 9
    Events,
    1953-1978, n.d.
  • box-folder 4 folder: 10
    Photographs,
    1953-1978, n.d.
Series IV. Theater and Fine Arts,
1900-1983
  • Theatrical production companies
    • box-folder 4 folder: 11
      The Canadian Players,
      n.d.
    • box-folder 4 folder: 12
      Cleveland Play House,
      n.d.
    • box-folder 4 folder: 13
      Grass Roots Opera / National Opera Company,
      1953-1960, n.d.
    • box-folder 4 folder: 14box-folder 5 folder: 1
      National Players,
      1962-1967, n.d.
    • box-folder 5 folder: 2-3
      Players, Inc. / University Players,
      1952-1963, n.d.
  • box-folder 5 folder: 4
    Virginia Tech theatrical production programs,
    1954-1984, n.d.
    [3 folders]
  • box-folder 5 folder: 5
    Virginia Tech musical productions,
    1969-1983, n.d.
    [2 folders]
  • box-folder 5 folder: 6
    Other Virginia Tech fine arts productions,
    1969-1982, n.d.
  • box-folder 6 folder: 1
    Local and regional theater and fine arts events,
    1947-1983, n.d.
    [2 folders]
  • box-folder 6 folder: 2-7box-folder 7 folder: 1-7box-folder 8 folder: 1
    Other theatrical productions,
    1929-1982, n.d.
  • box-folder 8 folder: 2
    Multiple-production programs,
    1930-1982, n.d.
    [2 folders]
  • box-folder 8 folder: 3
    Other musical productions,
    1931-1968, n.d.
  • box-folder 8 folder: 4
    Ballet programs,
    1952-1978, n.d.
  • box-folder 8 folder: 5
    Shakespeare festivals,
    1962-1982, n.d.
    [2 folders]
  • box-folder 9 folder: 1
    Sheet music,
    1900-1924, n.d.
  • box-folder 9 folder: 2
    Viscomi, Joseph, Playing with the Toy Theatre,
    1977
Series V. Subject / Correspondence Files,
1904-1993
  • box-folder 9 folder: 3
    Aa-Ak
    • Adams, Philip R.,
      1952-1982
    • Akers, Fannie Louise,
      1976-1985, n.d.
  • box-folder 9 folder: 4
    Ala
    • Alabama Historical Sketches,
      1947-1971
  • box-folder 9 folder: 5
    Alb-Au
    • Albert, Ray Allen,
      1982
    • American Association of University Professors,
      1946-1959
    • American Book Company,
      1951
    • Austin Peay State University site visit,
      1973
  • box-folder 9 folder: 6
    Av-Az
    • Ayres, Harry Morgan,
      1932-1964, n.d.
  • box-folder 9 folder: 7
    Ba-Bem
    • Barnwell, Charles and Lucile,
      1929-1964, n.d.
    • Beattie, William,
      1966
    • Beckwith, Claudia,
      1991
    • Belser, Karl,
      1933, n.d.
  • box-folder 9 folder: 8
    Ben
    • Ben Jonson: Poet,
      1940-1973, n.d.
  • box-folder 9 folder: 9
    Beo-Bz
    • Bridges, George,
      n.d.
    • Brown, Ralph M.,
      1934-1958, n.d.
    • Byers, John R. Jr.,
      1965-1987
  • box-folder 9 folder: 10
    Ca-Cg
    • Camden, William,
      1969-1979, n.d.
  • box-folder 9 folder: 11
    Ch-Clh
    • Christiansburg Book Club,
      1976
    • Chute, Marchette,
      1951-1975, n.d.
    • The Citadel,
      1964
    • Claiborne, Jerry D.,
      1989
    • Clarkson, Jack Jolly,
      1925-1970, n.d.
    • Claytor, Graham,
      1965
  • box-folder 9 folder: 12
    Cli-Clz
    • Clifford, James L.,
      1935-1978, n.d.
  • box-folder 9 folder: 13
    Cm-Cz
    • Coblentz, Stanton A.,
      1941-1966, n.d.
    • Collier's Encyclopedia,
      1960-1980
    • Collins, LeRoy,
      1960
    • Cornelius, Roberta D.,
      1972
    • Cornish, George A.,
      1950
  • box-folder 9 folder: 14
    Da-Dt
    • de Chezeau, Eunice,
      1992-1993
    • De Launay, Paul,
      1949
    • Dearing, Bruce,
      1965-1979
    • Derring, Paul N.,
      1959-1972, n.d.
    • Devine, John M.,
      1961-[1970]
    • Dietrick, Leander B.,
      1970-1975, n.d.
    • Dobbie, Elliott V. K.,
      1959
  • box-folder 9 folder: 15
    Du-Dz
    • Duff, James,
      1957-1971
    • Duke University,
      1979
  • box-folder 9 folder: 16
    E
    • Eastman School of Music,
      1939
    • Emory and Henry College,
      1970
    • Episcopal Church,
      1941-1973
  • box-folder 9 folder: 17
    Fa-Fn
    • Fidler, William Perry,
      1980-1988
  • box-folder 9 folder: 18
    Foa-Foq
    • Folger Shakespeare Library,
      1952-1978, n.d.
  • box-folder 10 folder: 1
    For-Fz
    • Fort, Joseph,
      1959-1984, n.d.
    • Fountain, Alvin M.,
      1966
  • box-folder 10 folder: 2
    G
    • Godfrey, Albert Blanton,
      1968
    • Grafton, Martha S.,
      1964
    • Greet, Cabell,
      1946-1957
  • box-folder 10 folder: 3
    Ha-Hov
    • Hall, Jay,
      1956-1966
    • Hall, Robert A. Jr.,
      1978-1986, n.d.
    • Harbage, Alfred,
      1963
    • Harp, Richard,
      1990
    • Harper and Row,
      1978-1986
    • Hays, Brooks,
      1963
    • Hispanic Society of America,
      1982
    • Hodnett, Ted,
      1956
  • box-folder 10 folder: 4
    How-Hoz
    • Howard, Warren W.
      1904-1916
  • box-folder 10 folder: 5
    Ja-Joh
    • Johnston, George Burke,
      1925-1989, n.d.
  • box-folder 10 folder: 6
    Joi-Jz
    • Jones, William M.,
      1963-1966
    • Justice, R. Glen,
      1974
  • box-folder 10 folder: 7
    K
    • Kathe, Barbara A.,
      1978
    • Kilpatrick, James J. "Jack",
      1953-1955
    • Kirk, Russell,
      1990-1991
    • Knote, Theodore W.,
      1935
    • Knower, Henry McElderry,
      1928-1940, n.d.
    • Kohler, Dayton,
      1962, n.d.
  • box-folder 10 folder: 8
    La-Lh
    • Lancaster, Dabney S.,
      1950
    • Lawrence, William Witherle,
      1930-1956
    • Leary, Lewis,
      1956-1965
    • Lee, Lawrence,
      1956-1965
    • Lee, Robert E.,
      1960-1981
    • Legh-Jones, John,
      1935
  • box-folder 10 folder: 9
    Li
    • Literature and printing,
      1928-1963
  • box-folder 10 folder: 10
    Lj-Lz
    • Long, George,
      1979-1985
    • Longwood College,
      1978
    • Lowe, G. Burman,
      1958
  • box-folder 10 folder: 11
    Ma-Mb
    • Mason, August H.,
      1941-1980, n.d.
  • box-folder 10 folder: 12
    Mc-Mz
    • [McCorvey, Thomas Chalmers],
      1925
    • McManaway, James G. "Mac",
      1945-1976
    • Milton, Hilary,
      1959-1978
    • Modern Language Association of America,
      1952-1974, n.d.
    • Moore, Adam G. N.,
      1958-1986
  • box-folder 10 folder: 13
    N-O
    • Omicron Delta Kappa,
      1941-1983, n.d.
  • box-folder 10 folder: 14
    Pa-Pn
    • Pannell, Anne G.,
      1953-1956
    • Payne, Al,
      1958-1973
    • Pendergrass, R. N.,
      1974
    • Phi Kappa Phi,
      1966-1974
  • box-folder 10 folder: 15
    Poa-Poem
    • The Poems of Ben Jonson,
      1951-1966
  • box-folder 10 folder: 16
    Poen-Poez
    • Poetry and essays,
      1941-1975
  • box-folder 11 folder: 1
    Pof-Pz
    • Poole, Elisha C.,
      1952
    • Prouty, Charles Tyler,
      1953
    • Public engagements,
      1956-1979
  • box-folder 11 folder: 2
    Q-Rn
    • Radford Review,
      1960-1966
    • Raugh, Miriam Joseph (Sister),
      1956-1963
  • box-folder 11 folder: 3
    Roa-Rom
    • Roberts, Ruby Altizer,
      1954-1969
    • Rodriguez, Louis J.,
      1974
  • box-folder 11 folder: 4
    Ron-Rou
    • Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.,
      1951-1983, n.d.
  • box-folder 11 folder: 5
    Row-Rz
    • Rowe, C. Eugene,
      1950-1975
    • Ruff, William,
      1946
  • box-folder 11 folder: 6
    Sa-Sp
    • Scaglione, Aldo,
      1972
    • Seay, Raleigh F. Jr. "Sandy",
      1989
    • Shakespeare, William,
      1964-1987
    • Simpson, Percy,
      1943-1955
    • Southern Conference,
      1964
    • Southeastern Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies,
      1968-1969
    • Southwestern Louisiana Institute,
      1955-1956
    • Sparkman, John
      1950-1952
  • box-folder 11 folder: 7
    Sq-Stt
    • Strode, Hudson,
      1950-1970, n.d.
  • box-folder 11 folder: 8
    Stu-Sz
    • Studies in Philology,
      1974-1979
    • Sullivan, A. M.,
      1962-1966
    • Sumner, Laura V.,
      1962
  • box-folder 11 folder: 9
    Ta-Tm
    • Taylor, Henry,
      1972-1973
    • ten Hoor, Marten,
      1952-1953
    • Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University,
      1963, n.d.
  • box-folder 11 folder: 10
    Tn-Tz
    • Tolkien, J. R. R.,
      1964-1970, n.d.
      [no original letters; photocopies only]
    • Tolkien, Priscilla,
      1982-1983
      [no original letters; photocopies only]
    • Trinity College, University of Dublin,
      n.d.
  • box-folder 11 folder: 11
    Ua-University of M
    • University of Alabama,
      1929-1987, n.d.
  • box-folder 11 folder: 12
    University of N-Uz
    • University of Virginia,
      1937-1978, n.d.
  • box-folder 11 folder: 13
    V
    • Van Doren, Mark,
      1959-1962
    • Vanderbilt University,
      1991
  • box-folder 11 folder: 14
    Wa-Wek
    • Weber, Kurt,
      1934-1935, n.d.
  • box-folder 11 folder: 15
    Wel-Wg
    [2 folders]
    • Wells, Henry W. and Katherine,
      1932-1992, n.d.
      [2 folders]
  • box-folder 12 folder: 1
    Wh
    • White Rhinoceros Press,
      1961-1979, n.d.
  • box-folder 12 folder: 2
    Wi-Z and unidentified
    • Wilson, I. D.,
      1958-1977
    • Wilson, James Southall,
      1955
    • Wilson, John Delane,
      1980-1983
    • Wragg, T. S.,
      1967, n.d.
    • Wu, Blanche Ching-Yi,
      1980, n.d.
    • Wyllie, John Cook,
      1953-1966
    • "Bob" (Oxford University Press), 1950
    • "Gregory" (Edinburgh, Scotland),
      1971
Series VI. Microfilm,
box-folder 12 folder: 31952-1972
  • Microform reel: 1
    Anglica Hibernica (selected pages) (1602),
    1972
  • Microform reel: 1
    Camden's Britannia (selected pages) (1607),
    1959
  • Microform reel: 1
    Coryat's Crudities (selected pages) (n.d.),
    1959
  • Microform reel: 2
    "The Life of Mr. Camden" (from Britannia) (1745),
    1971
  • Microform reel: 3
    Exequiae Illustrissimi Equitis (1587),
    n.d.
  • Microform reel: 4
    Ben Jonson poetry (selections) (1600-1634),
    n.d.
  • Microform reel: 5
    Ben Jonson poetry (selections) (1600-1692, n.d.),
    1952