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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],

Addendum 1
Series I.: Personal Papers and Photographs
Box 7
Folder 1: Yvonne Johnson photographs (14), 1931-1990s
Folder 2: Yvonne Johnson Friendship Autograph Book, 1936-1945
Folder 3: Letter written by Kenneth Johnson to Yvonne, July 16, 1962
Folder 4: Prairie Pioneers Remembrance plaque honoring Yvonne Johnson’s grandparents
Series II.: Johnson Family
Box 7
Folder 5: Johnson Family photographs (8), 1920s-1966
Folder 6: John and Maria Johnson photographs (6), 1840s-1924
Folder 7: Allen and Albert Johnson photographs (2), circa 1935-1936
Folder 8: Albert Johnson (6), circa 1920-1964
Folder 9: Virginia Johnson (16), 1889-1975
Folder 10: Leo and Elaine (Johnson) Olson (40), 1940s-1990s
Folder 11: Kenneth Johnson (24), 1930s-1993
Folder 12: Jim Walker, Kenneth Johnson, Cindy Crawford (4)
Folder 13: El Matador (restaurant ran by K. Johnson) (8), 1971-1991
Folder 14: Nelson Family (3), 1886-circa 1904
Folder 15: Lavina Nelson (3), 1890s-1940s
Folder 16: Extended Family and Pets (8), circa 1870s-1997
Folder 17: Family history, 1937-2015
Folder 18: Albert Johnson live stock records, 1917
Folder 19: Virginia Johnson: Shower invitation, 1912
Folder 20: Virginia Johnson: Diaries, 1919-1920
Folder 21: Virginia Johnson: Diaries, 1935-1936
Folder 22: Virginia Johnson: Diaries, 1950-1955
Folder 23: Virginia Johnson: Funeral program and obituary, 1978; 85th birthday clipping, 1975
Folder 24: Kenneth Johnson botanical samples for 8th grade
Folder 25: El Matador restaurant (Sycamore, IL), 1971-1991
Folder 26: Western Union Telegram to John Johnson, October 16, 1893
Folder 27: John Johnson eulogy, 1921
Folder 28: Warranty deeds of Bengt C. Nelson, 1871, 1880
Folder 29: Bengt C. Nelson railroad freight receipts, 1874-1875; obituary, 1904
Folder 30: Affidavit of Charles A. Bloom, bent tree with Andrew E.  Nelson in Dekalb, April 28, 1933
Folder 31: G. Henry Carlson funeral memory booklet, April 27, 1941
Folder 32: Black fig wine recipe
Folder 33: Ropp, (1887)
Folder 34: Illinois maps and Northern Illinois plat maps featuring farms
Series IV.: Teaching Materials & Professional Papers
Box 7
Folder 35: Geology classroom activities designed by Yvonne Johnson
Folder 36: Writing guides and activities
Folder 37: Science activity books
Folder 38: Class assignments, 1970s-1980s
Folder 39: Student Publications - poetry and newsletters, 1980s
Folder 40: Teacher, (1969)
Folder 41: Music sheets and lyrics
Folder 42: Through the Rainbow Children, Science and Literature, CESI sourcebook VIII, (1995)
Folder 43: The Book Shoppe activity book
Folder 44: Ocean activity book
Folder 45: Correspondence, 1961, 1985-1986
Folder 46: Clippings
Item 1: “The Game of Space”, (1987)
Series V.: Awards and Certificates
Box 8
Folder 1: Conservation Teacher of the Year, 1970-1971
Folder 2: Master Teacher clippings, 1984
Folder 3: Illinois Teacher Awards, 1984-1986
Folder 4: Award Certificates, 1980s-2003
Folder 5: Certificates of Participation and Training, 1997-2000
Folder 6: Kishwaukee College Yvonne A. Johnson Science Wing, February 2015
Folder 7: NIU Alumni Awards Dinner, Colege of Education, April 2015
Series VII.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration Education Workshops
Box 8
Folder 8: Fact Books
Folder 9: Postcards, 1970s-1980s
Folder 10: Publications, 1990s
Folder 11: Activity Books, 1980s-1990s
Folder 12: Teacher, 1990s
Folder 13: Language Arts Activity Cards for Science Topics: Space and Technology, 1988
Folder 14: NASA Space Activities, NSF/ISU Honors Science Teachers Project, circa 1988
Folder 15: Certificate of Achievement, Newest Reunion Workshop, August 7-9, 1991
Folder 16: Aerospace Education K-8
Series VIII.: Scrapbooks and Ephemera
Box 8
Folder 17: Smith Mine Disaster visit photographs (2), July 1989
Folder 18: Eric Rohmann (illustrator) photographs (6), December 2005
Folder 19: Iceland postcards (8)
Folder 20: Church Street Station postcard, Orlando, Florida
Folder 21: Cards to Yvonne Johnson, 1996-2015
Folder 22: Community Organizations awards, invites, and memberships, 2000-2015
Folder 23: Clippings
Folder 24: Bird art catalogs
Folder 25: “Questionnaire on the Illinois Old Age Assistance Law”, February 1936
Folder 26: United states Air Force Informational Kit, Strategic Air Command Civic Leader Your, Chicago, June 20-21, 1973
Folder 27: The Farmer & The Politician: An Historical Record, 1860-1960, (1960)
Folder 28: Genoa, 1836-1961, (1961)
Folder 29: The 100th Sandwich Fair, souvenir album and premium book, September 9-13, 1987
Folder 30: Gone But Not Forgotten, veterans buried in Elmwood Cemetery Sycamore, IL, 1993
Folder 31: A Reason for Tears, 15th Anniversary Edition
Box 9: Publications:
Item 1: The MidWeek Newspaper (v20:no26), July 1, 1987
Item 2: “DeKalb County Sesquicentennial Tab,” Sycamore Republican News, July 15, 1987
Item 3: “The National Bank & Trust Company of Sycamore, 1867-1992", May 13, 1992
Item 4: “Building on Tradition,” The Daily Chronicle, April 26, 1992
Item 5: “Insights,” The Daily Chronicle, April 25, 1992
Item 6: “Milestone 150,” The Daily Chronicle, (1987)
Item 7: Register Star Outlook, 27-Feb-94
Box 10: Photo Albums:
Item 1: Midwest Museum of Natural History (Sycamore, IL), 2005
Item 2: Album made by Leo B. Olson, circa 1940-1969
Item 3: Album made by Leo B. Olson, 1914-1986
Box 1: Bracelet made of Australian coins that Leo Olson send back while stationed there during World War II
Box 11
Item 1: Blue shirt, 1950s
Item 2: Pink dress and hat with blue ribbon Virginia Johnson made for Yvonne Johnson to wear to her cousin Martha Johnson's graden wedding to Wilderfay, 1936
Item 3: Pot holder made by student as gift for Yvonne Johnson
Item 4: Craft made by student as gift for Yvonne Johnson
Item 5: Craft made by student as gift for Yvonne Johnson
Item 6-14: Placemats (8) and rug made by Yvonne Johnson in Professor Elsie Wiggert, 1949-1950
Series Oversize
Oversize Drawer 37
Folder 2
Item 1: “My Saints” family photo poster created by Yvonne for the First Lutheran Church’s All Saints Day celebration
Item 2: Elaine Olson Estate Auction broadside, October 12-13, 1996
Item 3: Elaine Olson Estate Auction broadside, October 19, 1996
Item 4: Kenneth Albert Johnson photograph
Folder 3: The DeKalb Daily Chronicle, May 7, 1930

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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