The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Johnson, Samuel, 1790-1876
Dr. Samuel Johnson (1790-1876)
5 linear feet (8 boxes, 4 volumes)
The Dr. Samuel Johnson Papers
document the personal and professional life of this Salem, Massachusetts,
SERIES I. Medical Records SERIES II. Financial Records SERIES III. Personal Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Dr. Samuel Johnson Papers document the personal and professional life of this
Salem, Massachusetts, physician. The papers are divided into three series.
Series I. Medical Records incudes mostly birth and
dispensary records from 1818 to 1847. The birth records list patients and the sex of
the child. The dispensary records list the patient and their ailments or diseases
including fever, pneumonia, and syphilis.
Series II. Financial Records is comprised of account
books, daybooks, cash books, and expense books. Both Johnson's professional and
personal accounts are included, sometimes in the same volume. The account books and
daybooks list patients with the amounts of charges, but not the ailments for which
the visits were made. The account books list the debtor amounts and dates and the
credit amounts and dates; payment is mostly in cash, but occasionally in services
and/or goods. Of interest is the occasional receipt of an amount for "ext. tooth."
Most of the volumes are indexed. The account books also document income to Johnson
from his investments, such as bonds, railroads, stocks, the Salem and Chelsea
Turnpike, etc. They list in great detail Johnson's expenses. This series also
includes bills and receipts (B8 F3).
Series III. Personal Papers includes personal
correspondence with family and friends, and business correspondence. The personal
letters concerning Harvard (B8 F5) include references to classmates and "get
togethers" and reunions, including that held in 1874. The legal records (B8 F7)
include insurance policies and a promissory note. The miscellaneous papers (B8 F8)
are primarily loose papers removed from the various account books.
Dr. Samuel Johnson, a prominent physician in Salem and
Essex County, was born in Andover, Massachusetts, on December 18, 1790, the son of
Joshua and Martha (Spofford) Johnson.
Johnson graduated from Harvard College in the class of 1814, and was a classmate
of James Walker, later President of Harvard. Based on the financial records in the
collection, Johnson had a career of nearly 50 years of service as an active
physician. In 1830, in a famous Salem murder case, he performed an autopsy on the
body of Captain Joseph White, who was found murdered at home.
Johnson married Anna Dodge on June 7, 1821. They had seven children: four
daughters and three sons. His son, Samuel (1822-1882), became a minister; some of
Johnson's papers in this collection came from Rev. Samuel Johnson's papers (MSS 248).
Johnson died on May 28, 1876 at age 86.
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.
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
Dr. Samuel Johnson (1790-1876) Papers, MSS 254, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex
Museum, Salem, Mass.
All of the volumes and booklets (with the exception of the personal expense book,
1827-1833) were donated by the estate of Catherine Johnson on September 24, 1918.
The expense book (B7 F8) was removed from the papers of Rev. Samuel Johnson (MSS 248). The provenance of some of the letters and items
Collection processed by Donald Gleason, June 1991. Updated by Tamara Gaydos, November
Andover Vital Records to 1850, Vol. I (Births), p.
Salem Vital Records to 1850, Vol. III (Marriages),
Salem Vital Records to 1850, Vol. I (Births), p.
Salem Vital Records to 1850, Vol. V (Deaths), p.
Scrapbook – Biographical Clippings, Vol. 14, pp. 269, 273, and 277 (obituaries
from the Salem Gazette, Salem
Register, and Salem Observer
All of the volumes and booklets (with the exception of the personal expense book, 1827-1833) were donated by the estate of Catherine Johnson on September 24, 1918. The expense book (B7 F8) was removed from the papers of Rev. Samuel Johnson (MSS 248). The provenance of some of the letters and items is unknown.