Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Arthur Monrad Johnson colletion of botanical drawings 1914-1941
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (108.06 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Material
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Arthur Monrad Johnson colletion of botanical drawings,
    Date (inclusive): 1914-1941
    Collection number: 48
    Creator: Johnson, Arthur Monrad 1878-1943
    Extent: 3 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
    Abstract: Approximately 1000 botanical drawings, most in pen and black ink on paper, of the structural parts of angiosperms and some gymnosperms, by Arthur Monrad Johnson. Many of the illustrations have been published in the author's scientific publications, such as his "Taxonomy of the Flowering Plants" and articles on the genus Saxifraga. Dr. Johnson was both a respected botanist and an accomplished artist beyond his botanical subjects.
    Physical location: Collection stored off-site (Southern Regional Library Facility): Advance notice required for access.
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Arthur Monrad Johnson colletion of botanical drawings (Manuscript collection 48). Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 6107619 

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was a gift from the UCLA Botanical Garden/Herbarium to the Biomedical Library sometime in the late 1980s.


    Arthur Monrad Johnson (1878-1943) was Professor of Botany at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and director of the Campus Botanical Garden from 1927 until his death in 1943. Before that he held academic positions at the University of Minnesota, Harvard University, and the University of Wisconsin.
    Born in 1878 in Norway, he came to the United States with his parents while still a child. He received a B.S., M.A. in Arts, and Ph.D. in Botany from the University of Minnesota, and had further art instruction from Minneapolis Institute of Art and San Francisco Art School. Dr. Johnson's scientific publications included a major textbook in taxonomy and important articles on the genus Saxifraga. His drawings, watercolors, and oils of botanical subjects and landscapes were displayed at invitational exhibits in a number of major American cities.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains 84 folders of approximately 1000 hand-drawn illustrations, plus a few reprints and documents. The drawings are mostly in black ink on light or heavy paper; a few are on cardboard, another few lightly tinted in watercolors. A preponderance of the illustrations deal with the structural parts of angiosperms, with fewer focused on gymnosperms. The order Rosales contains the greatest number of drawings, keeping with Dr. Johnson's special interest in the family Saxifragaceae.
    The organization of Dr. Johnson's drawings for this finding list presented some problems. The collection came to the library in 49 packets, accompanied by a list of subjects included in each packet. Twelve of them named specific topics such as Buds, Fruits, Shoots, Tendrils; four large groups were labeled "Miscellaneous"; the rest bore taxonomic labels at levels varying from Sub-class to Order to Family. Upon investigation of the packets it became clear that over the years many had become quite mixed in their contents. One further obstacle arose from the outdated systems of classification used by Johnson: mainly that of Adolph Engler (A. Engler and E. Gilg, 1924), sometimes combined with Richard Wettstein's subclasses (R.V. Wttstein, 1924).
    The present organization of the drawings maintains Dr. Johnson's first twelve categories. As many items as possible in the "Miscellaneous" folders were identified and placed with their appropriate fellows. For the taxonomic classified portion we followed the system used by the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (http://www.itis.gov) and the USDA Plants Database (http://plants.usda.gov./). To accommodate the current cladistic approach to systematics, the names and relationships used on the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (APW)(http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/) have been noted when they differ from those given in ITIS. Thus, terms in brackets are not accepted by APW, and notes such as "APW: Rhamnales = Rosales" or "APW: Crassulaceae assigned to Saxifragales" can be found throughout.
    The collection is organized into the following series:
    • Series 1. Anatomy. 1 folder
    • Series 2. Buds. 1 folder
    • Series 3. Flowers. 1 folder
    • Series 4. Fruits. 4 folders
    • Series 5. Inflorescence. 1 folder
    • Series 6. Leaves. 1 folder
    • Series 7. Pollen. 1 folder
    • Series 8. Roots. 1 folder
    • Series 9. Shoots. 2 folders
    • Series 10. Spines. 1 folder
    • Series 11. Tendrils. 1 folder
    • Series 12. Teratological Forms. 1 folder
    • Series 13. Ginkgophyta. 1 folder
    • Series 14. Coniferophyta. 1 folder
    • Series 15. Magnoliophyta: Liliopsida/Monocots. 12 folders
    • Series 16. Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida/Eudicots + Magnoliids. 45 folders
    • Series 17. Various Materials. 9 folders

    Related Material

    Washington State University Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections list the following entry: Arthur Monrad Johnson Papers, ca. 1915-ca.1940. 650 items consisting of notes, drafts and drawings of Johnson's study of the genus Saxifraga.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Johnson, Arthur Monrad, 1878-
    Angiosperms -- Drawings
    Botanical artists -- Archives
    Botanical illustration
    Botany -- Drawings
    Plants -- Classification

    Genres and Forms

    Botanical illustration