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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 VII.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Education Workshops
Box 4
Folder 21: NASA Educational workshop for elementary teachers program, July 7-15, 1988
Folder 22-23: Photos of participants in NASA educational workshop for elementary teachers (7), 1988, 1990
Folder 24: NASA Educational workshop program, July 22-August 3, 1990
Folder 25: Future Voyagers: Aerospace Resource Guide for Educators, June 25, 1990
Folder 26: Lewis Research Center activity book, 1990
Folder 27: Lewis Research Center log book, 1990
Folder 28: Lewis Research Center activity book, 1991
Folder 29: Lewis Research Center log book, 1991
Folder 30: 5th Anniversary program for the Lewis Research Center, 1991
Folder 31: Faculty coordinator for NASA Educational workshop Materials and Photographs (8), 1990-1991
Folder 32: NASA/NSTA certificate of attendance, July 19-23, 1991
Folder 33: Space Flight: The First 30 Years by NASA, December 1991
Folder 34: NASA Spinoffs: 30 Year Commemoration Edition, 1992
Folder 35: Aerospace education liaison for NASA Lewis empowerment of Educators program, 1993
Folder 36: Certificate of recognition to Yvonne Johnson from NASA Lewis Research Center, August 15, 1995
Folder 37: Photo of Yvonne Johnson's visit to Johnson Space Center (1), 1996
Folder 38: Staff Development for Educators (SDE) Conference Badges, 1997, 2000
Folder 39: NASA photos display (19), no date

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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