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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Dorothy M. Johnson Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1896-1958
Creator: Johnson, Dorothy M. (1905-1984)
Extent: .75 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0632
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Editor, novelist and professor of journalism at the University of Montana. Typescript drafts and related correspondence for several short stories and her novel, The Hanging Tree. Also some family correspondence and photographs. Johnson wrote Liberty Valence and A Man Called Horse, both, like The Hanging Tree, made into motion pictures.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: Box 1

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: Dorothy M. Johnson gave this collection to the University of Iowa Libraries in 1963.

Preferred Citation: Dorothy M. Johnson Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Dorothy M. Johnson was born on December 19, 1905, in McGregor, Iowa. Her widowed mother moved them to Whitefish, Montana, in 1913. Johnson graduated from the University of Montana with a bachelor's degree in 1928. From 1944 to 1950, she edited a women's magazine in New York. Returning to Whitefish, she became the news editor of a local newspaper. In 1953, she joined the journalism faculty at the University of Montana. She is best known for her Western stories. Three of her books, The Hanging Tree, Liberty Valance, and A Man Called Horse , were made into motion pictures. Johnson died in 1984, at the age of 78.

The papers of Dorothy M. Johnson consist of two boxes of manuscripts, dating from 1896 to 1958. This small collection includes family correspondence and photographs (1896-1900). There are also typescript drafts, outlines, and correspondence from some of her short stories. One box of manuscripts contains papers which document the writing of The Hanging Tree.

Browse by Series:

  • Box 1:
  • Johnson/Barlow family correspondence - 1896-1900
  • Clippings - 1984
  • Photographs
  • Series 2: MANUSCRIPTS
  • Box 1:
  • "The Day the Sun Came Out" ("For Soon a Woman") - 1952
    Four typescripts and related correspondence
  • "The Deer Hunter" - 1952
    Typescript (with corrections), synopsis and related correspondence
  • "Gallagher's Wife" - 1952
    Two typescripts, carbon, and related correspondence
  • "The Gift by the Wagon" - 1955
    Three typescripts, carbon, notes, synopsis, and related correspondence
  • "The Man Who Knew the Buckskin Kid" - 1954-1955
    Typescript, carbon, notes and related correspondence
  • "The Unwilling Bandit" - 1954-1955
    Three typescripts, notes, synopsis, and related correspondence
  • Series 3: THE HANGING TREE
  • Box 1:
  • Correspondence - 1951-1958
  • Box 2:
  • Draft (with corrections)
  • Outline form and related correspondence - 1955
  • Typescript (with corrections)
  • Typescript (carbon copy)