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Yvonne Johnson Collection (Sycamore)


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Personal Papers and Photographs

Johnson Family

Yvonne Johnson's Education

Teaching Materials & Professional Papers

Awards and Certificates


National Aeronautics and Space Administration Education Workshops

Scrapbooks and Ephemera

Series Oversize

Addendum 1

Contact us about this collection

Yvonne Johnson Collection (Sycamore), 1874-2015 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Yvonne Johnson Collection (Sycamore), 1874-2015

Predominant Dates:1930-2015

ID: RHC/RC/337

Extent: 11.0 Linear Feet. More info below.


The collection is arranged into nine series and follows a mostly chronological order. Series I is composed of Yvonne Johnson’s biographical information, containing photographs, cards, flyers, and announcements.

Series II contains information regarding the Johnson family, including her brother Kenneth, sister Elaine, and mother Virginia. This series holds photographs, booklets, stories, and family history information. Researchers interested further in this family history should also see the Leo B. Olson Collection (RC 338).

Series III is composed of Yvonne Johnson’s educational materials that chronicle her early education and training to become a teacher. Materials include workbooks, art work, yearbooks, diplomas, and other documents she created during the course of her education.

The bulk of the collection consists of materials related to Yvonne Johnson’s teaching and professional activities. Series IV, Teaching Materials & Professional Papers, include teaching philosophies, yearbooks, programs, and photographs of classrooms and faculty. Also included are student instructional workbooks, work sheets, and other charts. There are also a number of handmade materials and correspondence from students. Series V consists Awards and Certificates presented to Yvonne Johnson on the local, state, and national levels. Of particular are handmade awards made by her students. Series VI, Organizations, documents Yvonne Johnson’s involvement in various professional and local charitable organizations. Series VII consists of educational material, programs, and photographs related to the NASA educational workshop for elementary teachers program from 1988-1992.

Scrapbooks and Ephemera make up Series VIII. The scrapbooks consists of photographs celebrating Yvonne Johnson’s career, letters and cards by students, and various newspaper clippings related to her career. There are also a number of artifacts, including plaques, ornaments, and a Saw-Set tool that belonged to her Grandfather Andrew Nelson, who filed a patent for the invention. The final series, Series IX, is composed of Oversized Materials such as display tri-folds put together by Yvonne Johnson to celebrate her 50 years of teaching. Four of these tri-fold displays were dismantled for preservation purposes and have been integrated into the collection. Also included are larger print items related to her family history such as diplomas, newspaper articles, and family trees.

The addendum contains records related to Yvonne Johnson’s personal life as well as her education and professional career as a science teacher, including photographs, teacher’s guides, activity books, award certificates, student papers, and textiles. Family records, photographs, clippings, and local area historical publications are also contain in the addition. Family records include photographs, diaries, and clippings.

Date Acquired: 07/31/2014. More info below under Accruals.

Subjects: DeKalb County (Ill.)-- History, Education., Elementary school teachers., Elementary school teaching., Illinois Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Johnson, Kenneth Albert, Johnson, Yvonne A., National Science Teachers Association, Northern Illinois State Teachers College, Northern Illinois University, Olson, Elaine V., Olson, Leo B., Pets, Saw sets--United States--Patents., Science teachers., Sycamore (Ill.), Teachers – Training of., United States. – National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Yvonne Johnson Collection dates from 1874 to 2015, with materials dating predominately between 1930 and 2015, and includes personal and professional materials related to Yvonne Johnson’s fifty-one year career as a science teacher. The collection provides a snapshot into American education through the eyes of an admired and successful educator. Documents include family history information, photographs, correspodence with students, certificates, educational and instructional materials, letters, cards, yearbooks, oversized displays, and newspaper articles. Digital images (37) are also archived as part of the collection.

Collection Historical Note

Yvonne Johnson (1930-), was a science teacher for West Elementary School in Sycamore, Illinois for forty-nine years and Love school for two. After growing up in the DeKalb country area, Yvonne graduated high school at 16 years old in 1947 and later attended the Northern Illinois State Teachers College where she earned a Bachelors of Science in Education in 1951. Yvonne continued her education at Northern Illinois University where she earned a Masters of Science in Education in 1960. Yvonne Johnson also attended and received credits from Rockford College, Oklahoma State University, and Lewis University. Yvonne Johnson’s academic achievements allowed her the opportunity to be awarded several National Science Foundation grants including a Penn State University grant in Chemistry and Physics in 1961, a Rutgers University grant in Geology and Meteorology in 1962, and grants from the Illinois State Universities for Physics, Biology, and Geology from 1985 through 1988. In 1966, Yvonne Johnson traveled through four Scandinavian countries studying Comparative Education. Yvonne Johnson participated in the first group to be trained in the  NASA Lewis Research Center’s program for elementary teachers. In 1991 and 1992, Yvonne Johnson returned to the Lewis Research Center as a faculty coordinator and later in 1995 returned as part of NASA’s Empowerment of Educators Program. Yvonne Johnson’s involvement with NASA’s education efforts continued as she attended several workshops at the Goddard Space Center, Johnson Space Center, and workshops in Washington D.C.

Yvonne Johnson’s teaching career began in 1951 at Love School, a one room school for all eight grade levels. From 1953 until 2002, Yvonne Johnson continued teaching at West Elementary School in Sycamore, IL for grades 4, 5, and 6. After leaving West Elementary  School in 2002, Yvonne Johnson continued teaching at the Learning Center until 2008. From the Learning Center, Yvonne Johnson continued to tutor students in the school until 2011. During her teaching career, Yvonne Johnson also conducted over 250 Elementary Teacher Science Workshops throughout the state of Illinois along with participation in NSTA Science Conventions from 1985 until 1999. Yvonne Johnson has also served on the Sycamore Education Association as both secretary and president. During her time as president, Yvonne helped establish the HSSR scholarship program. Yvonne served on the Sycamore Library Board from 1978 through 1997. During that time, Yvonne became president and served from 1984 through 1997. During that time, Yvonne received a state grant to restore the roof and crown of the Carnegie building and later began fundraising for the library’s addition. Yvonne was successful in raising close to 1.5 million dollars for the project. Yvonne Johnson has also worked on other projects such as Resource Bank’s video “One Room, One School,” contributed writing and photographs in the Rural School Journey Book, has written several articles published in science publications.

Yvonne Johnson’s has received many awards and recognitions for her achievements beginning in 1972 when Yvonne was awarded DeKalb County Conservation Teacher of the Year. In 1984, Yvonne was awarded  Master Teacher of Illinois, and in 1987 a National Science Teachers Association certification as a Master Elementary Science Teacher. From 1985 through 1987 Yvonne Johnson was awarded Outstanding Science Teacher in Region II by the National Science Foundation. In 1990, Yvonne received both a Certificate of Honor and Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Math Teaching while also receiving a Certificate of Recognition from the Illinois Math and Science Academy. In 2006, Yvonne Johnson was awarded the Clifford Danielson Outstanding Citizen Award by the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce. Yvonne’s most recent achievement has been the induction as a distinguished alumni of Sycamore High School on September 21, 2013.

Yvonne’s family has roots in the DeKalb county area since the 1800's. Yvonne’s grandmother and her two brothers were charter members of the First Lutheran Church in DeKalb where Yvonne has been a life long member. Yvonne served six years on the church council where she served as council secretary, congregational secretary, and on the executive committee. Later she has served as a communion assistant at First Lutheran Church on Sundays and is on the personnel committee. Yvonne Johnson’s grandfather helped lay the railroad through DeKalb in 1853 before the town was officially established. On her mother’s side, Yvonne’s grandfather, with his father, built the first fire wagons used in DeKalb.

Subject/Index Terms

DeKalb County (Ill.)-- History
Elementary school teachers.
Elementary school teaching.
Illinois Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs
Johnson, Kenneth Albert
Johnson, Yvonne A.
National Science Teachers Association
Northern Illinois State Teachers College
Northern Illinois University
Olson, Elaine V.
Olson, Leo B.
Saw sets--United States--Patents.
Science teachers.
Sycamore (Ill.)
Teachers – Training of.
United States. – National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Accruals: Additional materials were donated in 2015.

Alternate Extent Statement: 37 digital files (47.5 MB)

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions to this collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center, literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Technical Access Note: Electronic records may be accessed on the computer in the Center’s reading room.

Acquisition Source: Yvonne Johnson

Acquisition Method: Yvonne Johnson of Sycamore, Illinois donated her personal and professional papers to the Regional History Center on July 31, 2014.

Related Materials: Leo B. Olson Collection (RC 338)

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I.: Personal Papers and Photographs],
[Series II.: Johnson Family],
[Series III.: Yvonne Johnson's Education],
[Series IV.: Teaching Materials & Professional Papers],
[Series V.: Awards and Certificates],
[Series VI.: Organizations],
[Series VII.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Education Workshops],
[Series VIII.: Scrapbooks and Ephemera],
[Series Oversize],
[Addendum 1],

Series II.: Johnson Family
Box 1
Folder 27: Promotional Flyer for "The Shenanigans", no date
Folder 28: Various Newspaper clippings of interest to Yvonne from unknown newspapers, no date
Folder 29: An Eskimo Book by Yvonne Johnson, 1938
Folder 30: Brief history of North Grove School, unknown author, 1968
Folder 31: Santa Claus poem, unknown author, no date
Folder 32: 12 Short Songs, unknown author, no date
Folder 33: Letter from Mrs. Tom Roberts, Sr. Found in Chair Kenneth Johnson refinished, no date
Folder 34: Newspaper clipping talking about Kenneth Johnson finding Federal Land Grant, no date
Folder 35: Kenneth Johnson Photograph (1), no date
Folder 36: Kenneth Johnson name cards, no date
Folder 37: Photograph of Kenneth Johnson, Cindy Crawford at Dorothy's 75th Birthday, 1992
Folder 38: Photo of Cows Raised by Kenneth Johnson during 4H project, 1925-1930
Folder 39: Livestock Commission Bill from John Clay to Kenneth Johnson, December 5, 1931
Folder 40: Kenneth Johnson Lifetime membership Certificate, Hampshire Swine Record Association, December 31, 1938
Folder 41: Photograph of Kenneth Albert Johnson (1), 1940s
Folder 42: Certificate of membership for Kenneth Johnson from the Imperial Council of the Ancient Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, December 4, 1971
Folder 43: Letter to Kenneth Johnson from DeKalb County Clerk about mistaken death, April 4, 1985
Folder 44: Memorial Booklet for Kenneth Johnson, August 7, 1994
Folder 45: Kenneth Johnson Obituary listings from newspaper, 1994
Folder 46: Photographs of Dorothy Walker's 75th Birthday with James Walker, Richard Gere, and Cindy Crawford, 1992
Folder 47: Photograph of Dorothy Walker, Cindy Crawford, Richard Gere at Dorothy's 75th Birthday, 1992
Folder 48: Genealogy of Ezra M. Ames and Orpha M. Ames, no date
Folder 49: Pledge to the Roosevelt's, no date
Folder 50: An Irish Mother handwritten by Elene Foster, no date
Folder 51: [empty - moved to Series VII per request of donor], no date
Folder 52: Genealogy of Peter O. Cody by Sarah Cody Jorgenson, 1818-1946
Folder 53: Genealogy booklet of Olson family by Sarah Cody Jorgenson, 1818-1946
Folder 54: Harper's School Geography Book, 1880
Folder 55: Virginia Nelson Johnson DeKalb Township High School Report Cards, 1905-1908
Folder 56: Virginia Nelson Johnson Teaching Certificate, September 2, 1909
Folder 57: Jean Valigan and the Bishop Hugo written down by Virginia Nelson, June 30, 1911
Folder 58: Keeping a Seat at the Benefit by May Friske, handwritten copy by Virginia Nelson, no date
Folder 59: Handwritten letter by Virginia Nelson, no date
Folder 60: Lavinia Nelson High School Graduation Commencement program, DeKalb Township High School, June 15, 1911
Folder 61: Wedding photograph of Virginia Petronella Johnson and invitation, March 6, 1912
Folder 62: Photograph of Virginia Johnson, Julia Lydig, Maria Johnson and Elaine Johnson, 1913
Folder 63: Tax document for Albert Johnson, 1918
Folder 64: The Beacon Fifth Reader, 1918
Folder 65: Photo of Virginia Nelson Johnson, Elaine Johnson at 8 yrs. old, Kenneth Johnson at 4 yrs. old, 1920 (1)
Folder 66: Andrew Nelson's U.S. Patent Office Paperwork on Saw-Set Invention, February 19,1920
Folder 67: Elaine Johnson Admission to the 8th grade certificate, August 30, 1924
Folder 68: Elaine Johnson DeKalb County Public School Diploma, August 31, 1925
Folder 69: Elaine Johnson Confirmation Photograph (1), 1925
Folder 70: Elaine Johnson Photograph in Family Farm Living Room (1), 1926
Folder 71: Elaine Johnson Teaching certificate, July 20, 1933
Folder 72: Elaine Johnson, Beauty Contest Winner Portrait (1), 1933
Folder 73: Elaine Johnson Photographs (2), 1950-1955
Folder 74: Real Estate Listing for Elaine Johnson House, circa 1996
Folder 75: Photos of Elaine Johnson and Yvonne Johnson at 1 yr. old (5), circa 1931
Folder 76: DeKalb Township High School commencement exercise invitations, May 28-June 1, 1933
Folder 77: Photos of Elaine Johnson at 26 years old, Kenneth Johnson at 20 years, and Yvonne Johnson at 6 years (3), circa 1936
Folder 78: Little Folk's Prayer of Thanksgiving from the Prairie Farmer, November 18, 1939
Folder 79: [empty - moved to Series VII per request of donor]
Folder 80: Kane County Music Festival and Regional Promotion Exercises Program. 8th Grade Graduation, May 20, 1943
Folder 81: Thank you letter to Leo Olson from J.V. Patten Company, February 5, 1943
Folder 82: Photo of Yvonne Johnson and Elaine Johnson at St. Charles Farmhouse (1), 1944
Folder 83: Poem about the South Pacific, author unknown, 1944
Folder 84: Photo of Charles and Tillie Johnson, 50th anniversary (1), May, 1951
Folder 85: Newspaper auction notification for Albert O. Johnson, December 6, 1955
Folder 86: Photo of Albert O. and Virginia Nelson Johnson, 50th wedding anniversary (1), March 7, 1962
Folder 87: Albert Johnson obituary from Daily Chronicle, 1964
Folder 88: Photo of Yvonne Johnson and Elaine Johnson with dog Bugsy (1), 1968
Folder 89: Photo of Yvonne Johnson, Virginia Johnson, and Elaine Johnson at Open House (1), 1970
Folder 90: News article about Bengt Hadarsson, Yvonne's cousin, visit to the United States, April 11, 1971
Folder 91: Photo of Virginia Johnson at 85th Birthday (1), 1975
Folder 92: Photo of Leo Olson and Elaine Johnson Olson (1), circa 1980
Folder 93: Photo of Leo B. Olson (1), 1930-1933
Folder 94: Alpha-toon colored sign for Kenny's Korner, 1980

Browse by Series:

[Series I.: Personal Papers and Photographs],
[Series II.: Johnson Family],
[Series III.: Yvonne Johnson's Education],
[Series IV.: Teaching Materials & Professional Papers],
[Series V.: Awards and Certificates],
[Series VI.: Organizations],
[Series VII.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Education Workshops],
[Series VIII.: Scrapbooks and Ephemera],
[Series Oversize],
[Addendum 1],

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