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Robert Underwood Johnson papers

 Collection — Folder: S737
Identifier: S0737

Scope and Contents

This collection includes typed and signed letters from Robert Underwood Johnson in New York City, New York ranging from 1897 to 1931 regarding the literary business; a typed, signed letter from Albert H. Dotaw in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1924 regarding Robert Underwood Johnson's autobiography, and an autographed, unsigned poem, undated.


  • 1897-1931, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Robert Underwood Johnson was born on January 12, 1853 to Nimrod H. and Catherine [Katharin] Coyle Underwood Johnson in Washington, D.C. He had a brother, Henry U. who became a United States congressman. Robert grew up in Centerville, Indiana and received a Bachelors of Science from Earlham College in 1871. He was employed by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1873. He married Katherine McMahon of Washington, D.C. in 1876 and they had two children. He became an associate editor of the Century Magazine in 1881, editor in chief in 1903 and remained on staff until 1913. He co-edited Battles and leaders of the Civil War and persuaded General Grant to write his memoirs, which became a great financial success.

He served as United States ambassador to Italy from 1920-1921 and was active in coordinating Italy's post-war recovery. He was an advocate for Yosemite National Park and in the revision of international copyright laws, for which he was decorated by the French and Italian governments. He received an honorary Ph.D. from Earlham College in 1889, an A.M. from Yale in 1891 and an L.H.D. from New York University in 1911. He was a poet, active in many literary organizations, and worte an autobiography, Remembering Yesterday. He was a board member of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans.

He died Oct. 14, 1937 and is buried in Stockbridge Cemetery, Stockbridge, MA.

"Johnson, Catherine Coyle Underwood". Find a Grave Memorial. Retrieved 2015/03/02.

"Johnson, Robert". 1870 United States Federal Census. Retrieved 2015/03/02.

"Johnson, Robert [W].". 1860 United States Federal Census. Retrieved 2015/03/02.

"Johnson, Robert Underwood". Find a Grave Memorial. Retrieved 2015/03/02.

"Johnson, Robert Underwood". (1949) In Indiana Authors and their books, 1816-1916: biographical sketches of authors who published during the first century of Indiana statehood, with lists of their books. (pp. 169-170). Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College. Print. ISLI 16.810 B291I

Robert Underwood Johnson Papers. New York Public Library. Retrieved 2015/03/02.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a purchase from Walter R. Benjamin (George Ade letter) on 1950/09/13; other items were donated.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2015/03/02 by Edythe Huffman. EAD finding aid created 2015/03/02 by Edythe Huffman.
Robert Underwood Johnson papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.