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Nimitz Library

John Porter Merrell Johnston Letters, 1932-1937: Finding Aid

Published in August 2013

Summary Information

  • Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
  • Publisher Address:
    589 McNair Road
    Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
    Phone: 410-293-6917
    https://www.usna.edu/Library/sca/index.php
  • Call number: MS 358
  • Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
  • Title: John Porter Merrell Johnston Letters
  • Dates: 1932-1937
  • Size: 2.5 linear inches (1 manuscript box)
  • Creator: Johnston, John Porter Merrell, 1914-1987
  • Language(s) of material: English
  • Abstract: John Porter Merrell Johnston was an officer in the United States Navy and a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1937. The Johnston Letters, which span from 1932 to 1937, pertain to Johnston's time as a midshipman at the Naval Academy, including his grades, studies, courses, infractions, Academy routine, social activities, personal finances and purchases.

Biography of John Porter Merrell Johnston

John Porter Merrell Johnston was born 4 September 1914 in New York City. A graduate of the Sidwell Friends School, he was appointed to the United States Naval Academy from Missouri and graduated as a member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1937. Following graduation, his first assignment was aboard the U.S.S. Houston (Heavy cruiser: CA-30).

In September 1939, Johnston joined the U.S.S. John D. Edwards (Destroyer: DD-216), which was deployed to China at the time. His service aboard this destroyer (through 1942) included Pacific combat. Due to a hearing disability, Johnston was next assigned to limited shore duty. Johnston reached his final rank of Lieutenant Commander, 2 January 1942. On 1 April 1943, Johnston was placed on retired active duty status, serving from January 1943 through August 1945 at the Advance Base Establishment and Maintenance Division, CNO.

In 1944, Johnston married Elizabeth Winchester King of Annapolis. Among his civilian accomplishments, LCDR Johnston worked for the Radiation Laboratory (MIT secretariat), earned an MBA from Harvard in 1947 and pursued a twenty-nine year career with the National Geographic Society, retiring in 1976 from the post of Purchasing Officer.

LCDR Johnston died, 25 October 1987, at the Carriage Hill Nursing Facility, Bethesda, Maryland and was interred at the Naval Academy Cemetery.

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Description of Contents

The John Porter Merrell Johnston Letters were written by Johnston while a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. The collection consists of almost 200 items of correspondence spanning the period of June 1933 through May 1937 and a 1932 group photo showing his father, Captain R. H. Johnston. The collection is composed of letters, a few telegrams and greeting cards. Except for one letter to his brother Howard, the letters are addressed to his parents, Captain and Mrs. R. H. Johnston.

Much of the correspondence deals with Johnston's grades, studies, courses, infractions, Academy routine, social activities, personal finances and purchases. Johnston's letters include remarks on the USNA fencing team (of which he was a member), his room-mate (USNA slang "wife") Clay Goodloe, his 1934 summer practice cruise (U.S.S. Arkansas (Battleship: BB-33)) and his personal tourism, the 1935 destroyer cruise, the 1936 cruise, the USNA scarlet fever scare, and his Academy reputation as a "cutthroat." The letters also contain mentions of midshipman customs and other midshipman matters. Johnston also touches upon his personal hobbies of photography and stamp-collecting.

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Arrangement

The John Porter Merrell Johnston Letters are arranged by document type, and thereunder chronologically.

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Access and Use

Access

Access is unrestricted.

Copyright and Permission

The John Porter Merrell Johnston Letters are the physical property of Nimitz Library. Copyright belongs to the authors or creators of the works, or their legal representatives. For further information, consult the Head, Special Collections & Archives.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure written permission to publish, reprint, or reproduce material from Special Collections & Archives. The researcher assumes responsibility for infringement of copyright or literary or publication rights. Please contact the Head, Special Collections & Archives for permission to publish and for further information.

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Acquisition and Appraisal

Provenance and Acquisition

Gift of RADM Randolph King in July 1992. Accession No. 92-65.

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Related Materials

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

The Johnston Letters have been digitized in their entirety. In addition to following the links in the Container List, the materials can be accessed through the USNA Digital Collections at: http://cdm16099.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16099coll21

Related Archival Material

Additional material pertaining to Johnston's career and time as a midshipman can be found in his Midshipman Personnel Jacket and Alumni Jacket, both available from Special Collections & Archives, Nimitz Library.

Materials Cataloged Separately

No materials have been removed from this collection.

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Processing and Other Information

Preferred Citation

John Porter Merrell Johnston Letters, MS 358

Special Collections & Archives Department

Nimitz Library

United States Naval Academy

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary R. Catalfamo in 2003. Finding aid written by Mary R. Catalfamo in 2003 and edited by David D'Onofrio in August 2013.

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Subject Headings

These materials have been indexed in the Naval Academy Library online catalog using the following terms. Those seeking related materials should search under these terms.

Name and Subject Terms

  • Johnston, John Porter Merrell, 1914-1987
  • United States Naval Academy -- Midshipmen -- Cruises
  • United States Naval Academy -- Students -- Correspondence

Genre Terms

  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts
  • Photographs
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Contents List

Box 1 Folder 1

Correspondence, 1933 June-December

Digital copy available at: http://cdm16099.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16099coll21/id/78/rec/1

Box 1 Folder 2

Correspondence, 1934 January-May

Digital copy available at: http://cdm16099.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16099coll21/id/149/rec/2

Box 1 Folder 3

Correspondence, 1934 June-December

Digital copy available at: http://cdm16099.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16099coll21/id/251/rec/3

Box 1 Folder 4

Correspondence, 1935

Digital copy available at: http://cdm16099.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16099coll21/id/354/rec/4

Box 1 Folder 5

Correspondence, 1936 January-July

Digital copy available at: http://cdm16099.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16099coll21/id/463/rec/5

Box 1 Folder 6

Correspondence, 1936 September-December

Digital copy available at: http://cdm16099.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16099coll21/id/530/rec/6

Box 1 Folder 7

Correspondence, 1937

Digital copy available at: http://cdm16099.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16099coll21/id/539/rec/7

Box 1 Folder 8

Photograph, 1932

Digital copy available at: http://cdm16099.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16099coll21/id/592/rec/8

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