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Clifton Johnson Collection

About the Collection

The Clifton Johnson Collection at the Jones Library in Amherst, Massachusetts documents the life and work of Clifton Johnson, an author, photographer, and illustrator from the neighboring town of Hadley, MA. The digitized documents available here are a small subset of the approximately 7,000 items available in the collection. It includes a large collection of photographs and artwork, plus many of Johnson's personal notebooks, diaries, published articles, correspondence, and ephemera.

The material represents Johnson's wide interests in local history, farming, travel, children's literature and education, literary figures, and personalities of New England.

Review the full inventory of the collection.

About the Digital Collection

Originally, the Clifton Johnson Digital Collection launched as a separate site to showcase the photographs that Johnson made while touring the South to write articles for various popular magazines at the turn of the 20th century. His photographs reflect a sensitive and intimate look at the daily lives of African Americans during post-Reconstruction. This site was designed, developed, and implemented by Kirstin Kay.

In 2015, we incorporated the Clifton Johnson Digital Collection into Digital Amherst in order to provide greater accessibility to all of our digital materials. The two exhibits originally created for the distinct site, "Clifton Johnson" and "Northerner in a Southern Country" have been migrated to Digital Amherst. The content of the "Northerner in a Southern Country" remains the same and only minor changes were made to the "Clifton Johnson" exhibit.


We would like to thank Kirstin Kay, Project Manager, Developer, and great-granddaughter of Clifton Johnson for all of the work she did both on the original Clifton Johnson Digital Collection site and on Digital Amherst. Our thanks to Adrienne Zimmerley, Archives Intern, for her assistance migrating the content to Digital Amherst and further developing the "Clifton Johnson" exhibit. And we would also like to extend our gratitude to Charlie Johnson, grandson of Clifton Johnson and tireless contributor to this project. His volunteer work in helping to preserve, organize, and make this collection visible has been invaluable. He also learned DublinCore metadata standards at 80!