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Ralph S. Johnson papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 25

Scope and Contents

The Ralph S. Johnson papers document the pioneering aviation career of Ralph S. Johnson. Included among the papers are aeronautical engineering drawings done by Johnson, along with articles and papers authored by him. The newspaper clippings, awards, and honorary Doctorate of Engineering from Purdue University focus on the latter part of his career, as he was being recognized as an aviation pioneer. 

The biographical information was often collected and written by the authors, as a part of a nomination for an award. His memoirs provide a unique look into his life at this time period in aviation history. The photo albums and scrapbooks reflect many areas of his career. Most of the individual photographs represent the planes he flew during his career, along with incredible aerial shots taken during his training days. 

The collection contains a wealth of information regarding flight history and safety during the 1930s and 1940s. 


  • 1924 - 2010
  • Majority of material found within 1930 - 1947

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Portions of material in this collection are in the public domain. Other material copyrights held by Purdue University or original creator. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.


18.166 Cubic Feet (13 letter-size full-width manuscript boxes, 12 legal-size full-width manuscript boxes, four cubic feet boxes, one legal-size half-width manuscript box, three flat boxes, one tube and two items)

Language of Materials



The papers are arranged into six series.
  1. Papers, Engineering Drawings, and Articles
  2. Aeronautical Publications and Patent Information
  3. Day Planners, Notebooks, Pilot Logs, and Flight Logs
  4. Artifacts
  5. Photo Albums, Photographs, and Scrapbooks
  6. Oversized Material

Acquisition Information

Collection was donated by Abra Johnson Parkhurst, granddaughter of Ralph S. Johnson, May 9, 2008. Another donation was made by Alan Johnson, son of Ralph S. Johnson, February 12, 2010.

Processing Information

All materials have been housed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes. The photographs have been placed into polyester sleeves. Some clippings containing images of people, color graphics or front pages of newspapers have been preserved for display purposes, with photocopies made available for research. Oversized items have been separated and grouped into their own series for preservation purposes.
Ralph S. Johnson papers
Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Third edition. Collection description first completed 2009-11-11.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States