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Johnson, Blanche Brown, b. circa 1859



  • Existence: circa 1859 - ?

Biographical Information

Blanche Wallace Brown was born on August 20, ca. 1859, daughter of L.M. and Mary Brown of Lafayette, Indiana. In 1883-1884, Blanche enrolled in special courses at Purdue University, taking wood carving, decorative design, and historical ornament. She also enrolled in summer art classes in 1878-1879.

She married Oscar D. Johnson in 1886, and they had two sons, Harold Brown Johnson (b. 1890) and Maxwell Oscar Johnson. Johnson appears to have gone to college in 1876 to Auburn, New York. She was interested in art, cooking, interior decorating, and served at least one year as President of the Art Club of Lafayette in 1914-1915.

Blanche’s son Maxwell Oscar Johnson graduated from the School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University with a B.S. in 1913, and later returned to Purdue to attain a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1928. Maxwell became an internationally known scientist for his research on the pineapple. Blanche’s husband, Oscar D. Johnson, appears to have died in 1921.

Blanche Brown Johnson and her family remained supportive of the university and offered several items that had belonged to John Purdue to the university in 1925. She acquired these items from her father who was a colleague and friend of Purdue, and from Purdue himself.


Morris, Sammie. "The Blanche Brown Johnson papers: A Guide to the Collection at Purdue University Libraries Special Collections." BBJ1, Blanche Brown Johnson papers, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections, West Lafayette, Indiana. March 3, 2004.


Kriebel, Robert C. 2002. The Midas of the Wabash: A Biography of John Purdue. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press.


Board of Trustees Minutes. Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center, Purdue University Libraries, West Lafayette, IN.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Blanche Brown Johnson papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: 00000BJ1
Scope and Contents Diaries, correspondence, photographs, and related materials of Blanche Johnson.  Includes newspaper clippings and printed material pertaining to items of interest to Blanche Johnson, such as art, bridges, cooking, mysticism, home decorating, poetry, religion, sex, and sewing. Some ephemera, primarily Christmas gift tags and cards collected by Johnson, are included.  A constitution and program for the The Art Club of Lafayette, Indiana, 1912-1915, is included in the collection.
Dates: 1875-1921