Marion Johnson photographs, 1938-1975 (VIS 33)
Marion Johnson (1917 - 1998) was born in Geneva, Georgia and moved to Atlanta in 1936, joining his sister who worked as office secretary for the Atlanta Constitution. At her suggestion, Johnson took a job doing errands for the paper. While there, he was approached by Kenneth Rogers, head of the photography department, who encouraged him to study photography in his spare time. After serving as a photographer in World War II, Johnson returned to the Atlanta Constitution and was eventually named head of the photography department, a position he held from 1951 – 1980.
The collection provides documentation of the Atlanta urban environment, especially of the 1950s and 1960s through cityscapes, aerial views and scenes of individual buildings as the city underwent a period of building and growth. This is documented by scenes of interstate highway development, the construction of high-rise buildings in the central business district, and completion of Atlanta Stadium. The arrival of the city’s first professional sports team, the Atlanta Braves is represented by posed publicity shots, training and awards events, and game scenes. A number of individual players and coaches are included, such as Hank Aaron and Satchel Paige. Other sports images include photographs of sports teams at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech.
Southern politics is comprised of images of both state and presidential races, including governor’s races, especially those of Eugene Talmadge, the “Two Governors” controversy. The 1948 “Dixiecrat” convention in Birmingham, Alabama is included as well as campaign visits to Atlanta by presidential candidates Lyndon Johnson and Barry Goldwater. The collection includes dozens of images of the Ku Klux Klan marches and cross burnings on Stone Mountain and other locations in rural Georgia. A wide variety of Georgia agriculture and industry is included as well as scenic views of rural, mountain, and coastal Georgia. Photographs of rural Georgia document local lifestyles and scenic vistas of local beauty. Miscellaneous images are also included, ranging from wedding photos, and portraits of individuals.
The Marion Johnson photographs contains 3,901 black and white and color negatives and transparencies, 999 of which are digitized and available on this database.
The finding aid for the entire collection is available here.
To view the rest of the images, please visit the Kenan Research Center located at 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30305. Our hours of operation are 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Wednesday – Saturday. You may contact us by calling 404.814.4040 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Digitization of this collection is made possible in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.