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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Lulu Merle Johnson papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1930-1995
Creator: Johnson, Lulu Merle (1907-1995)
Extent: 1.00 linear inch.
Collection Number: IWA0550
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: An African American woman from Gravity, Iowa, who earned an MA in 1930 and a PhD in 1941 in American history from the State University of Iowa.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 975) were donated by Richard Culbertson in 2001.

Preferred Citation: Lulu Merle Johnson papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Lulu Merle Johnson was born in 1907 in Gravity, Iowa, and graduated from Clinton High School in 1925. She earned both a BA and an MA in 1930 from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa). In 1941, Johnson received a PhD in American History from the State University of Iowa, becoming the first African American woman in the state to earn a doctorate. The title of Johnson's dissertation is "The Problem of Slavery in the Old Northwest, 1787-1858."

Lulu Johnson taught history at Talladega College (Alabama), Tougaloo College (Mississippi), Florida A&M University, and West Virginia State College before joining Cheyney State University (Pennsylvania) in 1952 as a history professor and dean of women. Johnson was a lifelong member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She retired in 1971 and died in 1995.

The Lulu Merle Johnson papers date from 1930 to 1995 and measure 1 linear inch. The papers consist of Johnson's diplomas from the State University of Iowa, newspaper clippings, and photocopies of the title pages and tables of contents of her master's thesis and dissertation.
Johnson's master's thesis and doctoral dissertation are shelved with both the University of Iowa Libraries theses and Special Collections Department:  "The Negro in Canada, Slave and Free," 1930 (T1930 .J671); "The Problem of Slavery in the Old Northwest, 1787-1858," 1941 (T1941 .J672).

Browse by Series:
Series 1: Biographical information

  • Series 1: Biographical information
  • Box 1:
  • Biographical information - 1930-1996
  • Diplomas - 1930
  • Diplomas - 1941

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Johnson, Lulu Merle, 1907-1995

Corporate Names:
State University of Iowa

20th century

African American women

College students

Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa -- Gravity
Northwest, Old

Genre/Form of Materials:
Personal papers

African American Women in Iowa