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David Claypoole Johnston

Johnston's Illustrations

Johnston gained such a wide popularity because of his many book illustrations, as well as his contributions to newspapers, almanacs, and periodicals. There may be many more not credited to him, but because of his style and format variations, identification has been difficult. This May 1, 1841, masthead from Boston Notion was designed by Johnston. The American Antiquarian Society holds over 70 items that include his illustrations. To view a list, click here.




His illustrations were created in a variety of media, including etchings, engravings, lithographs. The Society has pen and pencil sketches, oil paintings, and watercolors that relate to the illustrations. This February 22, 1843, masthead from Brother Jonathan is another created by Johnston.


This is a sketch done by Johnston for Joseph C. Neal's Charcoal Sketches, from 1838. They had a working partnership for several books. Neal gave Johnston the freedom to choose how he was going to illustrate each book. In one letter dated February 28, 1837, Neal tells Johnston that "By pleasing yourself, you are most likely to please us." Click to enlarge.





This is the frontispiece illustration of Boston actors, in character, from volume one of The Gallaxy of Wit, 1827. It is one of many engravings that Johnston contributed to published books. Click to enlarge.


This 1843 illustration is one of many that Johnston contributed to the "Automata" section of several editions of Little Girls Own Book. Click to enlarge.



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Introduction Johnston's Satirical Influence Johnston's Five States Johnston's Watercolors Johnston's Drawings Johnston's Theatrical Influence Johnston's Political Influence Johnston's Publications Acknowledgements Charcoal Sketches, 1838 Galaxy of Wit frontispeice The Little Girl's Own Book Bibliography Collection