John Porter Merrell Johnston Letters, 1932-1937: Finding Aid
Published in August 2013
- Publisher: United States Naval Academy. Special Collections & Archives.
- Publisher Address:
589 McNair Road
Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5029, USA
- Call number: MS 358
- Location: Special Collections & Archives Department - Manuscripts
- Title: John Porter Merrell Johnston Letters
- Dates: 1932-1937
- Size: 0.21 linear feet
- Container Summary: 1 half-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.
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.
The John Porter Merrell Johnston Letters are arranged by document type, and thereunder chronologically.
Access and Use
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.
Acquisition and Appraisal
Provenance and Acquisition
Gift of RADM Randolph King in July 1992. Accession No. 92-65.
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: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/ik5eus/alma991006445389306751
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
Material pertaining to Johnston's later career, as well as several of his family members has been processed separately as the Johnston Family Papers, MS 452.
Processing and Other Information
John Porter Merrell Johnston Letters, MS 358
Special Collections & Archives Department
United States Naval Academy
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.
Name and Subject Terms
- Johnston, John Porter Merrell, 1914-1987
- Midshipmen -- Conduct of life
- United States Naval Academy -- Midshipmen -- Cruises
- United States Naval Academy -- Social life and customs
- United States Naval Academy -- Students -- Correspondence
Correspondence, 1933 June-December
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006445256006751
Correspondence, 1934 January-May
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006445255906751
Correspondence, 1934 June-December
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006445255806751
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006445255706751
Correspondence, 1936 January-July
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006445255606751
Correspondence, 1936 September-December
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006445255506751
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006445255306751
Digital copy available at: https://usna.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNA_INST/t2tcj0/alma991006445255406751