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Alvin Jewett Johnson (1827 - 1884) was an American map publisher. Born in Wallingford, Vermont, he received only a basic public education, but he still served as a school teacher for several years before moving to Richmond, Virginia and, in 1857, New York City. Johnson also worked as a book canvasser for the map publisher J.H. Colton.

Johnson's name first appears on maps published with Samuel N. Gaston and D. Griffing Johnson (no clear relation) in the mid-1850s, and his name (along with Ross Browning) appeared on Colton's atlas maps of 1859 and 1860. Although map historian Water Ristow speculates that Colton sold his copyrights to Johnson and his business partner, fellow Vermonter Browning, a more likely theory is that Johnson and Browning financially bailed out the Colton firm in exchange for the right to use Colton’s existing copyrighted map plates. The first Johnson maps were mostly reissues of earlier Colton maps. Indeed, Johnson's earliest works described his firm as the “Successors to J. H. Colton and Company”. Johnson converted the original Colton steel plate engravings to lithographic stones, allowing his firm to produce more maps at a lower price point. 

In 1860, the Johnson firm published its first significant work, the Johnson’s New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas. The first edition of the Atlas bears imprints in both New York and Richmond, VA. In 1861, however, following the outbreak of the American Civil War, the Johnson & Browning firm abandoned their Richmond location. Browning seems to have remained in Virginia to pursue other ventures and, in 1861, Browning’s portion of the firm was purchased by Benjamin P. Ward. The 1863 issue of the Atlas was one of the most unusual, it being a compilation of older Johnson and Browning maps, updated 1862 Johnson and Ward maps, and newer 1863 maps with a revised border design.

The 1864 issue of the Atlas is the first true Johnson and Ward atlas. Johnson published one more edition in partnership with Ward in 1865, after which Johnson becomes the sole publisher. The next issue of the Atlas, 1866, is the first purely Johnson atlas with all new map plates, updated imprints, and copyrights. Johnson maps include a unique border style, which changed over the years, but was not copied by other makers. These include a “strapwork border” from 1860 to 1863, a “fretwork border” from 1863 to 1869 and a “spirograph border” in 1870. 

In addition to the Family Atlas, Johnson issued numerous wall maps, pocket maps, and, in the 1880s, the Cyclopedia. Johnson frequently updated his western atlas maps and on occasion, more than one update appeared in a single year. Johnson continued to publish the Family Atlas until 1887. In 1879, Johnson brought his son into the business, and their publications have the imprint “A.J. Johnson and Son” and, later, “A.J. Johnson and Co.” Johnson’s son continued the business until it shuttered in 1887.

Place/Date:
New York / 1867
Size:
17 x 23 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
77869
Place/Date:
New York / 1867
Size:
23 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
84881
Place/Date:
New York / 1868
Size:
23 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
82572
Place/Date:
New York / 1868
Size:
23 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
88884
Place/Date:
New York / 1869
Size:
17 x 23 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
75756
Place/Date:
New York / 1869
Size:
23 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
79311
Place/Date:
New York / 1869
Size:
23 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
80279
Place/Date:
New York / 1869
Size:
23 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
81089
Place/Date:
New-York / 1869
Size:
17 x 22.5 inches inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
88883
Place/Date:
New York / 1869
Size:
23 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
88988
Place/Date:
New York / 1869
Size:
17.5 x 24 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
89010
Place/Date:
New York / 1869
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
89044

Archived

Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
36256
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
40429
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
20 x 13 inches
Condition:
Stock#:
41076
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
42107
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
42430
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
42510
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
44414
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
43127
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
44566
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
45744
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
45620
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
20 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
45649
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
45706
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
45689
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
45783
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
45799
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
45817
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
46174
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
46203
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
46317
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
46527
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
46636
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
46925
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
46924
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
20 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
46923
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
46962
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
47304
Place/Date:
New-York / 1861
Size:
26.5 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
47403
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
15.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
48063
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
48371
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
15.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
48463
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
48465
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
48508
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
48629
Place/Date:
New-York / 1861
Size:
26.5 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
48630
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
48672
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
48671
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
48669
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
15.5 x 12.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
48731
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
48730
Place/Date:
New-York / 1861
Size:
26.5 x 16 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
48791
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
16 x 13 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
48814
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
48834
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
12 x 16.5 inches
Condition:
VG+
Stock#:
50808
Place/Date:
New York / 1861
Size:
24 x 17 inches
Condition:
VG
Stock#:
50861