The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Johnson, Samuel, 1822-1882
Reverend Samuel Johnson (1822-1882)
7.5 linear feet (15 boxes)
The Reverend Samuel Johnson Papers consist of correspondence, appointment books, notebooks, sermons, and writings of this Lynn, Massachusetts minister.
SERIES I. Correspondence SERIES II. Personal Papers
A. Travel Logs and Appointment Books
SERIES III. Sermons SERIES IV. Compositions
A. School Papers and Exercises
B. Essays and Lectures
Scope and Content Note
The Reverend Samuel Johnson Papers consist of correspondence, appointment books, notebooks, sermons, and writings of this Lynn, Massachusetts minister. This collection is divided into four series.
Series I. Correspondence consists of an extensive assortment of letters written to
and from Johnson's family members and colleagues. Series
II. Personal Papers is divided into four subseries: Travel
Logs and Appointment Books, Notebooks, Clippings and Photographs. Series III. Sermons consists of original sermons that
Johnson wrote and preached. Series IV. Compositions is
divided into two subseries: School Papers and Exercises, and Essays and Lectures.
The collection is arranged chronologically within each series.
Samuel Johnson (1822-1882), was born in Salem,
Massachusetts on October 10, 1822 to a physician father and a mother whose family
who had lived in Salem for many generations. Best known for his independent
religious and political philosophies, Johnson embraced ideas and practiced views of
science, humanity, ethics, spirituality, and natural and universal religion.
At sixteen, Johnson entered Harvard College, where he graduated second in his
class in 1842 with a degree in Arts. From there, he enrolled in the Harvard Divinity
School, where he graduated in 1846 with a degree in Theology. It was at the Harvard
Divinity School, where along with fellow classmates, Octavius Brooks Frothingham
(1822-1895) and Samuel Longfellow (1819-1892), Johnson would
discover and adopt the philosophies of transcendentalism, universal religion, and
other non-Christian religions. Although Johnson had no religious denomination, in
1851 he briefly worked at a Unitarian Church in Dorchester, MA before resigning in
In 1853, Johnson established the Free Church of Lynn (Massachusetts), which
focused on free and independent thought, and was described by the founder himself as
being an "independent religious society". Johnson remained a minister of the Free
Church until June 26, 1870, when he retired to concentrate on his writing and
publications. Johnson wrote many poems, hymns, essays and sermons which addressed
topics that ranged from his beliefs in religion, spirituality and reform, to women's
suffrage and the anti-slavery movement; a cause that he actively advocated. Johnson
also wrote many books, such as Book of Hymns in 1846,
and Hymns of the Spirit, 1864, with colleague Samuel
Longfellow and a three volume series Oriental Religions and
Their Relation to Universal Religion: India (1872), China (1877), and Persia (1885), which
illustrated his interests in eastern spirituality and philosophy.
In 1876, Johnson moved to a house in North Andover, MA that had been bequeathed
to him by his father. He remained there until his death on February 18, 1882.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons,
or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Alcott, Amos Bronson, 1799-1888
Brown, John, 1800-1859
Chadwick, John White, 1840-1904
Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887
Frothingham, Octavius Brooks, 1822-1895
Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879
Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909
Johnson, Anna, b. 1826
Johnson, Joshua, 1827-1880
Johnson, Samuel, 1790-1876
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Longfellow, Samuel, 1819-1892
May, Samuel J. (Samuel Joseph), 1797-1871
Peabody, Elizabeth Palmer, 1804-1894
Smith, Increase S.
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 1815-1902
Stone, Lucy, 1818-1893
Wasson, David Atwood, 1823-1887
Harvard Divinity School
Lynn Free Church (Lynn, Mass.)
Great Fire, Boston, Mass., 1872
Voyages and travels
Europe--Description and travel
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in
writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex
Reverend Samuel Johnson (1822-1882) Papers, MSS 248, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex
Museum, Salem, Mass.
The provenance of this collection is unknown.
Collection processed by Karen Clemons, July 2011.
"Image of the Month for January 2009." Andover-Harvard
Theological Library. President and Fellows of Harvard College, 26 Jan
2009. Web. 27 Jul 2011.
Longfellow, Samuel. Memoir. Lectures, Essays, and
Sermons. By Samuel Johnson. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1883.
"Samuel Johnson (clergyman)." Wikipedia, The Free
Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 7 April 2011. Web. 27 Jul.
Stewart, Samuel. "Samuel Johnson (1822-1882)." Heralds of
a Liberal Faith. 3. American Unitarian Association, 1901. Web.