Henry Warren Johnson Papers: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Monica Pelayo, January 21, 2010.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2010
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Overview of the Collection

Title: Henry Warren Johnson Papers
Dates (inclusive): 1898-1935
Bulk dates: 1922-1927
Collection Number: mssJohnson, Henry papers
Creator: Johnson, Henry Warren.
Extent: 80 items in 1 box
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: This collection contains documents relating to various aspects of retired Pasadena, California, physician Henry Warren Johnson (1854-1942). The bulk of the documents are notes for his manuscript, "The Story of Placerville Road," which chronicles his experiences traveling around California in the 1920s.
Language: English.


Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item]. Henry Warren Johnson Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


Gift of Harriet L. Johnson on March 16, 1944, and June 29, 1946.

Biographical Note

Henry Warren Johnson (1854-1942) was a retired doctor who traveled around California and the Pacific Northwest in his automobile during the 1920s with his sister Harriet “Hattie” L. Johnson. He was born in 1854 and raised in Berlin, New Hampshire, and graduated from Harvard University in 1879 with a bachelor’s degree. From there, he entered Boston University where he graduated in 1888 with an MD. He traveled to Europe in order to do his residency in a Dublin hospital. By 1901, he returned to Berlin and became the Chairman of the City’s Board of Education, with Hattie as the city librarian. Afterwards, he and his sister moved to Pasadena, California, from Berlin. They began to travel during the 1920s, while Johnson worked for the Department of Agriculture under the authority of the Biological Survey making regular reports about the number and types of birds he branded. He also held permits from the State Fish and Game Commission and the State Ornithological Club. Towards the end of his life, he took a class by Loye Miller at the University of California, Los Angeles about birds. He also began several manuscripts about literature and California history, publishing “A collection of genealogical tables of the reigning houses of Europe from the 10th century to the present time,” through a local press in 1940. He died at the age of 88 on October 19, 1942.

Scope and Content

The documents relate to various aspects of Henry Warren Johnson’s life and work. The bulk of the documents are notes for his manuscript, “The Story of Placerville Road.” This manuscript, along with the accompanying notes and documents, chronicles his experiences traveling around California, while narrating the history of California’s modernization. Other documents in the collection relate to his other book projects, his bird-banding expeditions, and his version of the history of the Post Office’s entrance into California.
The correspondence is largely Henry Warren Johnson’s accounts of his automobile trips in California and the Pacific Northwest. According to his letters, he and his sister travelled to Morro Bay, Monterey, San Diego, Mammoth Lake, Bouquet Canyon, and Sequoia Park, all of which are in California. He also vacationed near the Columbia River in Oregon. The collection also includes several letters between Johnson and J.J. Brockliss about the Brockliss Bridge in Nevada. The last bit of correspondence relates to his political views about democracy, Roosevelt, and the economic state of the world.
There are also two ephemera folders, one containing sketch maps for a manuscript and the other comprising of various printed material such as tourists’ maps and newspaper clippings.


This collection is arranged with manuscripts first, followed by correspondence and ephemera. The manuscripts and correspondence are both arranged alphabetically.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


Johnson, Henry Warren.
Miller, Loye, 1874-1970.
Automobile travel -- California.
Birds -- California.
California -- Description and travel.
California -- History -- 19th century.


Letters (correspondence) -- California -- 20th century.
Manuscripts -- California -- 20th century.
Maps -- California -- 20th century.
Notes -- California -- 20th century.

Collection Contents

Box 1


Folder 1

Johnson, Henry Warren. “Crossing the Sierra in California, 1850-1870: [notes]” [undated] 1 item

Folder 2

Johnson, Henry Warren. “Notes on genealogical tables of the Reigning Houses of Europe” [undated] 20 items.

Folder 3

Johnson, Henry Warren. “Notes taken on a course of lectures By Dr. Loye Miller” (Feb. 1925- Mar. 1925) 7 items.

Folder 4

Johnson, Henry Warren. “Notes on ‘Placerville Road’” [undated] 1 item.

Folder 5

Johnson, Henry Warren. “Report of the bird-banding expedition to Camp #3” (Feb. 28- Mar. 2, 1925) 1 item.

Folder 6

Johnson, Henry Warren. “Postal Facilities in California in the Fifties” [undated] 1 item.

Folder 7

Johnson, Henry Warren. “The Story of Placerville Road: [book: first draft]” [undated] 1 item.

Folder 8

Johnson, Henry Warren. Untitled manuscript beginning, “The most casual reader of the history of California” [undated] 1 item.

Folder 9

Johnson, Henry Warren. Untitled note beginning, “There are some 1,800 of these lions in the state” [undated] 1 item.

Folder 10

Johnson, Henry Warren. Untitled notes for manuscript. [undated] 6 items.

Folder 11

Brockliss, J.J. 4 letters (1929) to Henry Warren Johnson.

Folder 12

Johnson, Henry Warren. 1 letter (1935, Jan. 28) to Annie Hamlin.

Folder 13

Johnson, Henry Warren. 2 letters (1927, Feb. 5) to C. L. Saunders.

Folder 14

Johnson, Henry Warren. 1 letter (1925, July 5) to “Dear”

Folder 15

Johnson, Henry Warren. 4 letters (1924-1925) to “Dear Folks.”

Folder 16

Johnson, Henry Warren. 1 letter (1926, Dec. 23) to Etta Howe.

Folder 17

Johnson, Henry Warren. 1 letter (1924, Aug. 16) to George Hill.

Folder 18

Johnson, Henry Warren. 1 letter (1935, Feb. 21) to Howard -----.

Folder 19

Johnson, Henry Warren. 2 letters (1922) to Lillian -----.

Folder 20

Johnson, Henry Warren. 1 letter (1923, June) to unknown addressee.

Folder 21

Sketch maps of Placerville Road for manuscript [undated]. 3 items.

Folder 22

Ephemera (1898-1925). 7 items.