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Arthur Johnston Papers

Identifier: GTM-091217

Scope and Contents Note

The Arthur Johnston Papers represent an extensive collection of materials documenting the life and works of Arthur Johnston (1898-1954), a prolific American music composer who wrote music for the theater and for film. Some of Johnston's correspondence and contracts are preserved among his papers. Also, printed materials about his career and numerous photographs of him and others are present. A large number of his musical compositions--both published an unpublished--are retained in the collection. The following types of musical compositions are contained in this collection: individual songs with lyrics only, musical manuscripts of particular songs, music for films, music for theater, and musical works by other individuals.

The Arthur Johnston Papers are contained in 20 boxes (19.5 linear feet). The papers date from 1898 to 2000 with most documents falling into the range of 1920 to 1954.

Status: Open. Provenance: Purchased from J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians, 2010. Processed by Scott S. Taylor, June 2010.


  • 1898 - 2000
  • Majority of material found within 1920 - 1954

Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical Sketch

Arthur Johnston (1898-1954), a noted American music composer, was born on January 10, 1898, in New York City. He worked as a pianist in various theaters before becoming music director for Irving Berlin. In 1929, Johnston relocated to Hollywood, California, where he created an amazing number of musical works for films, including "College Humor," "Double Or Nothing," "Murder at the Vanities," "Pennies from Heaven," and "Too Much Harmony," to name just a few. During World War II, Johnston was a member of the 351st infantry in the U.S. Army, and he produced the show "Hut-Two-Three-Four." Throughout Johnston's prolific career, he worked with noteworthy masters of lyrics, including Johnny Burke, Sam Coslow, and Gus Kahn.

Johnston's compositions included the following: "All You Want To Do Is Dance," "Cocktails for Two," "The Day You Came Along," "Just One More Chance," "Learn To Croon," "Live and Love Tonight," "Mandy Make Up Your Mind," and "Pennies from Heaven."

On May 1, 1954, Arthur Johnston died in Corona del Mar, California.

[Source: Songwriters Hall of Fame Online].


19.5 Linear Feet (21 boxes)

Language of Materials


Arthur Johnston Papers
Scott S. Taylor. Booth Family Center for Special Collecitons Georgetown University Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057