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David Claypoole Johnston




David Claypoole Johnston was born in Philadelphia on March 25, 1799. He grew up in Philadelphia, and as a teenager was apprenticed to Francis Kearney for four years, where he learned engraving and etching. His first lithograph appeared in the December 1825 issue of the Boston Monthly Magazine. Shown is the proof from this lithograph. Click to enlarge.



In the early years of working as an artist, he supplemented his income by working as an actor, first in Philadelphia and later in Boston. He moved to Boston in 1825 to work in the theatre, and eventually began working as a lithographer with the Pendleton's. The first lithographed sheet music cover titled "The Log House," was lithographed by Johnston and published March 14, 1826. Click to enlarge.








The Society has recently aquired several new works of art that will be added to the collection. These include this sketch by D.C. Johnston, as well as works by several of his family members. Click to enlarge.

Johnston's work was very well received in the United States. His most well-known topics include the militia, temperance, religion, and politics. He is best remembered for his contribution to the early years of lithography in America, and, of course, as a humorist.
The American Antiquarian Society's David Claypoole Johnston Collection includes approximately half of the known watercolors attributed to Johnston, as well as a large collection of sketches and drawings in various stages of completion. The collection has all nine volumes of Scraps, including many of the sketches he did while creating Scraps. The Society also has several works attributed to Johnston that are housed in its Sheet Music Collection, Lithograph Collection, and Political Cartoon Collection. Johnston's works can also be located in various publications found in the Society's collection.


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Boston 1825 proof The Log House
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 Bibliography New aquisition Collection