North American Scholar

JOHNSON, Allan Chester

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1881-08-11
  • Born City: Loch Broom
  • Born State/Country: NS
  • Parents: Leander, a farmer, & Hannah Creelman J.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1955-03-02
  • Death City: Princeton
  • Death State/Country: NJ
  • Married: Laura Williamson, 14 Aug. 1912.
  • Education:

    A.B. Dalhousie U., 1904; LL.D., 1929; Ph.D. Johns Hopkins, 1909; fellow ASCSA, 1909-11.

  • Professional Experience:

    Tutor class. Dalhousie U., 1904-6; lctr. Gk. U. Alberta, 1911-12; asst. prof to prof, class. Princeton, 1912-33; Musgrave prof. Lat., 1933-43; Andrew Fleming West prof, class., 1943-9; vis. prof. AAR, 1933-4; trustee, 1933-45.

  • Dissertation:

    "A Comparative Study in Selected Chapters in the Syntax of Isaeus, Isocrates and the Attic Psephismata preceding 300 B.C." (Johns Hopkins, 1909); printed (Athens, 1911).

  • Publications:

    "The Creation of the Tribe Ptolemais at Athens," AJP 34 (1913) 381-417, ibid. 35 (1914) 79-80; "The Date of Menander's Andria," ibid., 326-9; "Attic Archons from 294 to 262 B.C.," CP 9 (1914) 248-78; "Notes on Attic Inscriptions," ibid., 417-41; "Studies in the Financial Administration of Athens," AJP 36 (1915) 424-52; "Problems in Delphian Chronology,"AJP 39 (1918) 145-72, ibid. 40 (1919) 286-307; Municipal Administration in the Roman Empire, with Frank Frost Abbott (Princeton, 1926); Greek Papyri in the Princeton Collection, with H. B. Van Hoesen (Baltimore & London, 1931); An Economic Survey of Ancient Rome, vol. 2: Roman Egypt to the Reign of Diocletian (Baltimore, 1936); John H. Scheide Biblical Papyri: Ezekiel, with H. S. Gehman & E. H. Kase (Princeton, 1938); Papyri in the Princeton Collections, vol. 3, with S. P. Goodrich (Princeton, 1942); Currency in Roman and Byzantine Egypt, with Louis C. West (Princeton & London, 1944); Byzantine Egypt: Economic Studies (Princeton, 1949); "Lucius Domitius Domitianus Augustus," CP 45 (1950) 13-21; Egypt and the Roman Empire (Ann Arbor, 1951); Ancient Roman Statutes, with Paul R. Coleman-Norton & Frank C. Bourne (Austin, 1961); gen. ed. Princeton University Studies in Papyrology, 1934-49.Festschrift: Studies in Roman Economic and Social History, ed. Paul R. Coleman-Norton, Frank C. Bourne, and John V. A. Fine (Princeton, 1951).

  • Notes:

    Johnson eagerly embraced the new discipline of Greek papyrology, clearly sensing that papyri offered the ancient historian direct and immediate contact with the Greco-Roman world and with Hellenistic and Roman Egypt in particular. The nucleus of a papyrus collection, put together from sporadic distributions by the Egypt Exploration Society, had been building at Princeton since the turn of the 20th century, and under Johnson's leadership Princeton became a member of that cartel of institutions (in the United States, Cornell and the University of Michigan; in Europe, the British Museum and the University of Geneva) which bought papyri in the antiquities markets of Cairo and Alexandria between 1920 and 1940, largely through the agency of Harry I. Bell and Francis W. Kelsey. Johnson encouraged Robert Garrett and John Scheide to turn their attention toward papyri and to become themselves active collectors of papyri; their acquisitions augmented the papyrological holdings of Princeton University, as did other gifts of papyri and ostraca, given in memory of Johnson by his former student, Edmund H. Kase, and by the Askren family.Johnson embodied the amicitia papyrologorum to a remarkable degree, for he was ever generous to the many students with whom he collaborated in the publication of texts and to a younger generation of papyrologists. For example, during the years when critical editions of papyri were being prepared, letters moved back and forth on a daily basis between Princeton and Ann Arbor (Herbert Chayyim Youtie). Twenty-three fellow historians and classicists from the United States and Europe honored Johnson with a Festschrift on his 70th birthday.

  • Sources:

    NatCAB 45:539; Theodorus C. Sarikake, Platon 6 (1955) 166-8; WhAm 3:449.

  • Author: Ann Ellis Hanson