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UD Special Collections > Exhibitions > Little Known Histories of Newark, 1758-2008



The Johnsons
Louise Staton Johnson and her husband,
Everett C. Johnson

(Vagabond printer detail)

Louise Staton Johnson (1882-1977) was born in Newark to Joseph L. Staton (1836-1891) and Martha (Rounds) Staton. Her father was minister of the Welsh Tract Baptist Church. Louise attended Newark High School, and after graduating in 1897 she worked as a teacher for several years. In 1902, she married Everett C. Johnson, publisher of the Newark Post and founder of the Press of Kells. Their only child, Marjorie, was born in 1907.

(Kells logo)

Everett C. Johnson, publisher, printer, and state politician, remains an icon of Newark's intellectual and cultural development in the early decades of the twentieth century. Inspired by the American Craftsman Movement, and particularly Elbert Hubbard, Johnson established his small press to produce fine books, booklets, and broadsides, many written by local scholars. Johnson used his newspaper to advocate improvements for Newark--the establishment of good roads, good schools, a free library, a city sewer system, and a YMCA--and became a very popular and outspoken local figure. Johnson died prematurely, leaving his widow, Louise Staton Johnson, and daughter, Marjorie Johnson Tilghman, to champion the memory of his contributions to Newark.

(Video)
"A Walk Down Main Street: An Oral History."
Video created in 2008,
by Asher Jackson
in the Student Multimedia Design Center, Morris Library
using sources from Special Collections and
featuring an excerpt from Louise Staton Johnson's 1973 oral history.
Please click the image above to start the video in a new window.

After the death of her husband in 1926, Louise continued at the Newark Post as editor for several years and rented rooms in her house in order to make extra money. Employment in Washington, D.C., took her from Newark for a period of twenty years, but she returned in 1946 and lived in town until her death, at age 95, in 1977.

Louise Johnson's memories of growing up in Newark are recounted in an oral history she recorded for the University of Delaware History Department in 1973. She also wrote her memoirs, A Narration of many memories, several detours, and a few thoughts. A multi-media presentation was prepared for this exhibition, using Johnson's oral history, photographs, postcards, and family papers from Special Collections, University of Delaware Library.




(Newark High School, Class of 1897)
Newark High School, Class of 1897.
Louise Johnson, seated front, was class valedictorian.
Everett C. and Louise S. Johnson papers.

Newark High School, Class of 1897. Louise Johnson, seated front, was class valedictorian.
Everett C. and Louise S. Johnson papers.
Gift of Marjorie Johnson Tilghman

Louise Staton Johnson: Memories of Newark [excerpt from an oral history recorded in 1975, Richard H. Richards Delaware Oral History collection].
Produced in the Student Multimedia Design Center, University of Delaware Library, by Asher Jackson, Pauline A. Young Resident, University of Delaware Library.

Photograph of the Press of Kells, Everett Johnson's printing establishment at the corner of Depot Road (South College Avenue) and Park Place.
Everett C. and Louise S. Johnson papers.
Gift of Marjorie Johnson Tilghman

Kells : the story of the visit of a vagabond printer to the shop where master craftsmen study and work at the art of printing. Newark, Del. : Kells, 1910. The "vagabond printer" was Johnson's linotype operator, John Schultz, who shared the ideology of Kells, "Where Printing is an Art & not a Job."

(Press of Kells employees, 1925)
Photograph of Everett Johnson and staff at Kells, 1925.
Everett C. and Louise Staton Johnson papers.

Photograph of Everett Johnson and staff at Kells, 1925.
Everett C. and Louise Staton Johnson papers.
Gift of Marjorie Johnson Tilghman

Wooden logo of the Press of Kells.
Everett C. and Louise Staton Johnson papers.
Gift of Marjorie Johnson Tilghman

Press, politics, and perseverance : Everett C. Johnson and the Press of Kells / by Robert C. Barnes and Judith M. Pfeiffer. New Castle, Del. : Oak Knoll Press ; Wilmington, DE : Cedar Tree Books, 1999.





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11/03/09

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