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Collection Summary
Administrative Information
Biographical Note
Scope and Content Note
Access
Publication Rights
Container List

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James Johns Papers

Collection Summary

Repository
University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections
Creator
Johns, James, 1797-1874
Title
James Johns Papers
ID
mss.702
Date [inclusive]
1812-1873
Extent
0.4 Linear feet One box
Location
Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library.
Language
English
Abstract
The James Johns Papers consist of one box of miscellaneous Johns manuscripts from 1812 to 1873. The collection includes original and photocopied correspondence, examples of Johns' pen-printed broadsides, books and newspapers, and copies of his printed and published works.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item] James Johns Papers Collection, Special Collections, University of Vermont Library.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections 1998 

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

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Biographical Note

Prolific pen-printer, amateur publisher and local antiquarian, James Johns was born in Huntington, Vermont, on Septembre 26, 1797. He received only a rudimentary education in the local schools and for most of his life eked out a meagre living as a farmer, but in his early teens he began to issue small quill-and-ink productions designed to resemble printed or published works. Johns maintained his interest in pen-printing from the 1810s to the end of his life, writing out stories, poems, essays, local history and folklore, acrostics, and political commentary in a small, precise lettering that closely resembled a printed type-face. While The Vermont Autograph and Remarker, a small "newspaper" that began in the 1830s and continued into the 1870s, was his best-known manuscript work, Johns also pen-printed broadsides, pamphlets and small books to send to the small circle of Vermont collectors, historians and writers who occasionally gave him books or nominal sums of money in appreciation of his efforts.

In addition to his pen-printing, Johns also occasionally put his writings into published form. In 1828 he had a Burlington printer issue The Green Mountain Muse, a thin volume of poetry. In 1857 he purchased a portable printing-press, which he used for the next decade to churn out occasional broadsides, small pamphlets and other amateurish publications on local subjects. His strong interst in Huntington's early history brought him to the attention of Abby M. Hemenway in the 1860s, and Johns became the author of the Huntington section in her Vermont Historical Gazeteer. In 1868 Johns moved from Huntington to nearby Starksboro, where he died on April 26, 1874, at the age of 76.

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Scope and Content Note

The James Johns Papers consist of one box of miscellaneous Johns manuscripts from 1812 to 1873. The collection includes original and photocopied correspondence, examples of Johns' pen-printed broadsides, books and newspapers, and copies of his printed and published works. There are 51 issues of the Vermont Autograph and Remarker from 1838 to 1873, and one 1812 issue of Johns' first pen-printed "newspaper," the Huntington Gazette. Because Johns wrote several of the 1860s-70s issues of The Autograph and Remarker in this collection especially for Abby M. Hemenway and George G. Benedict, they include personalized notes and "stories" to the two Vermont historians.

The arrangement of the collection is primarily chronological within two groups: correspondence and various James Johns pen-printed and published works; and issues of the Vermont Autograph and Remarker.

Researchers working on James Johns should be aware of the existence of a noteworthy Johns collection at the Vermont Historical Society and a smaller group of Johns papers at the American Antiquarian Society.

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