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Ronald Johnson holograph books

Call Number: MS D214


Two holograph notebooks kept by poet Ronald Johnson containing inscriptions, including poems, artwork, and tipped-in materials by fellow writers and artists. The majority of the inscriptions date from 1963-1967, but there are also inscriptions from the 1970s and even the 1980s in the second notebook, which also includes art and inscriptions that appear to have been collected at the Aspen Institute in the summer of 1967.


  • Majority of material found within 1963-1967


Conditions Governing Use

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Ronald Johnson

Ronald Johnson was born in Ashland, Kansas on November 25, 1935 to A.T. and Helen (Mayse) Johnson (1910-1993). He spent some time at the University of Kansas, beginning his studies there in 1953 and completing his freshman year, before performing two years of national service in the Army in Georgia, Arizona, and California. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in 1960 at Columbia University.

In 1964, Johnson published his first collection of poetry, A Line of Poetry, A Row of Trees. He would go on to publish numerous poetry collections, including The Book of the Green Man (1967) and Radi os (1977), an erasure poem Johnson created by excising text from the first four books of John Milton's Paradise Lost. The complete version of Johnson's long poem ARK was published in 1996 by Living Batch Press; ARK is divided into three books, each containing 33 sections.

Johnson also published several cookbooks, including The Aficionado's Southwestern Cooking (1968), The American Table (1983), and Southwestern Cooking: New and Old (1985).

Johnson lived much of his adult life in San Francisco, employed at various occupations to support himself, including bartender, chef, and caterer. During his career he held several guest professorships at universities, including the University of Kentucky and the University of Washington.

Ronald Johnson died March 4, 1998 in Topeka, Kansas at the age of 62. Posthumously, Johnson's literary executor Peter O'Leary published To Do as Adam Did, Selected Poems of Ronald Johnson (2000), The Shrubberies (2001), and a new edition of Radi os (2005).


2 Volumes ; Volume 1: 6.25 x 9.5 x 1.25" Volume 2: 7 x 10 x 1"

Physical Location

MS D214

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Derringer Books, Abaa, October 2011.

Related Materials

Ronald Johnson papers, MS 66, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Ronald Johnson Literary Estate Collection, MS 336, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Processing Information

Each volume is divided into sections marked by bookmarks placed in the volumes. The notes for each volume give a list of which names are in each section. Each bookmark is marked with its section number and the position within the volume where it is to remain.


Guide to the Ronald Johnson Holograph Books Collection
Ronald Johnson holograph books
Finding aid prepared by tmw. Finding aid encoded by tmw.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Robert Johnson holograph books, MS D214, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States