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James Johns Papers, 1823-1873.
Johns, James, 1797-1874.
Library Call Number Copy Material Location
Vermont Historical Society Library  MS 61  Manuscript  Vault-Manuscript 

Personal Author : Johns, James, 1797-1874.
Title : James Johns Papers, 1823-1873.
Physical Description : 1 linear ft. (3 boxes).
General Note : Continued in: MS 061A & 061B.
Summary :

James Johns, a Huntington, Vermont, farmer, wrote prolifically and distributed his work in several formats: pen printing, letter press printing, or hand writing. The collection of James Johns materials at the Vermont Historical Society is reported to be the largest collection of Johns' work. The collection includes his weather journals and diaries, letters, short stories, poetry, newspapers, essays, and local history which are either pen printed or hand written. His longer works are often bound into hand sewn pamphlets with letter press title pages.

Johns' pen printed output is unique and the pen printed items in the collection are noted in the inventory. The pen printed items include an issue of his newspaper, Remarker and Independent Review, Huntington, June 27, 1833, probably a predecessor of the Vermont Autograph and Remarker, as well as several short stories, many poems, and local history. Johns' weather journals from 1823-1873 and a collection of approximately 25 of his short stories occupy a substantial part of the collection. Johns' poetry, most of which he wrote to memorialize the deceased, occupies five folders (MS61A: 12-16). Although Johns carried on a lively correspondence, there are only a few of his letters or those from his correspondents in the collections (MS61:1).

In 1828 Johns had a book of his poetry published, The Green Mountain Muse: or Original Poetry on Various Subjects. According to Vail's bibliography the copy in this collection may be the only copy extant.

Biographical or historical data :

James Johns (September 26, 1797- April 26, 1874) was the son of Jehiel (February 19, 1756-August 12, 1840) and Elizabeth Sexton (d. March 25, 1851) Johns, first settlers of Huntington, Vermont, in 1786. Jehiel Johns served successfully as moderator, town clerk, selectman, treasurer, and finally for three years, as Huntington's representative in the Vermont legislature. James Johns, one of six children, had little opportunity for more than a district school education. He farmed in Huntington until 1868 when he moved to Starksboro where he died in 1874. He began writing at age thirteen. His early literary output included stories, poetry, essays, song lyrics, a "Journal of the Weather," and diaries he called "minutes" or "yearly chronicles." Johns' first published work was a collection of poems, Green Mountain Muse, which was printed in Burlington by Foote and Stacy in 1828. In 1867, his history of Huntington, Vermont, was published in Hemingway's Vermont Historical Gazetteer.

In 1857 Johns secured from Boston a small hand press and became his own publisher. He published several small books but abandoned the press by the 1860's in favor of printing by hand. Johns' early pen printed work includes the newspaper, the Vermont Autograph and Remarker, which he wrote and distributed from as early as 1834 until 1873. He produced the final issue of the paper on August 28, 1873, eight months before his death at age seventy-six. Johns' pen printed output consists of obituary poetry, short stories, essays, sermons, speeches, and local history.

Subject Term : Penmanship.
Printing Vermont.
Weather Vermont.
Geographic Term : Huntington (Vt.) History.
Huntington (Vt.) Climate.
Huntington (Vt.) Vital records.
Starksboro (Vt.) History.
Starksboro (Vt.) Climate.
Starksboro (Vt.) Vital records.
Vermont Climate.
Genre/Form : Acrostics.
Occupation : Farmers.
Local Subject : Pen printing.
Added Title : Remarker and independent review.
Starksborough gazette.
The green mountain muse : or original poetry on various subjects
Remarkable circumstances and interesting adventures.
The green mountain tradition, or Book of bears.
A brief record of the fatal accidents which have happened in Huntington.
Electronic Resource : Click here for full text of finding aid.