Fonds JOH - Robert Johnson Fonds

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Robert Johnson Fonds

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    Reference code

    CA ON00420 JOH

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    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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    • 1916-1984 (Creation)
      Johnson, Robert A., 1914-1995

    Physical description area

    Physical description

    ca. 1.86 m of graphic material, 1.05 m of textual records, and 268 technical drawings

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    Archival description area

    Name of creator

    (1914 - 1995-05)

    Biographical history

    Robert (Bob) A. Johnson was born in Montreal in 1914 and passed away in May 1995, spending his entire working life in aviation. Educated at Montreal Technical School, he joined the RCAF Reserve at St. Hubert, Quebec, 115 (F) Squadron, and then apprenticed at Fairchild Aircraft in Montreal, and also worked at Garage Nicolet in Longueuil and Nicolet. He was also a member of the St. Lawrence Aircraft Association Flying Club in Longueil, Quebec. In 1938, Johnson joined the National Steel Car Company at their plant in Malton, Ontario. He was in charge of the group building the Westland Lysander and the Handley Page Hampden bomber. The Canadian Government bought Malton from National Steel Car Company in 1942 and renamed it Victory Aircraft. He later became group leader for the production planning of the B-26 bomber. During the Second World War, he was in charge of teams building components for the Avro Anson and the Lancaster bomber. When the war ended, he was one of only 300 employees of the 10,000 Victory Aircraft employees to stay at the newly created A. V. Roe Canada Limited.

    Johnson played a leading role in the manufacture of all of the Avro aircraft projects and was later chief of field service for the CF-100 Canuck and CF-105 Arrow. After the cancellation of the Arrow project, Johnson survived ‘Black Friday’, continuing with Avro to the point when its parent company, Hawker Siddeley Canada Limited, transferred all of its aviation interests, including the Malton plant, to its other subsidiary, de Havilland Aircraft, in 1962. Now an employee of de Havilland, Johnson was appointed staff assistant to the operations manager on the DC-9 contract and became deputy operations manager in 1964.

    Johnson stayed at Malton when Douglas Aircraft of Canada took it over. He held a number of executive positions with the company through the DC-9 and DC-10 contracts, retiring in 1974 after 36 years at the Malton plant. He was an active member of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society in his retirement.

    Custodial history

    Acquired by the National Aviation Museum in 1997.

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists primarily of personal and company records from Johnson’s career at Malton, first at National Steel Car and Foundry, then Victory Aircraft Limited, Avro Aircraft Limited, De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited, Douglas Aircraft Company, and McDonnell Douglas. There is also some early material from when he lived in Montreal, including photographs taken while he worked at Fairchild Aircraft Limited, and material from at least one relative that also had experiences in aviation, as well as a few drawings published by the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. The fonds has been arranged in seven series: JOH-1 National Steel Car and Foundry and Victory Aircraft Limited; JOH-2 Avro and De Havilland; JOH-3 McDonnell Douglas; JOH-4 Scrapbook and Photograph Books; JOH-5 Montages; JOH-6 Photographs; and, JOH-7 Drawings.

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    Physical condition

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      Script of material

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        Finding aids

        A detailed finding aid is available. It was prepared by volunteer Wayne Saunders under the supervision of Registrar Marc Ducharme in 1999. This finding aid refers to locations that no longer exist and to boxes that were renumbered or changed. It can be used to give an understanding of what is available.

        Associated materials

        Related materials


        General note

        Related materials: some of Johnson’s framed photographs, montages, or drawings were kept in frames and given artifact numbers by the Museum. See: 1997.0873; 1997.0885; 1997.0959 to 1997.0963; 1997.0965 to 1997.0973; 1997.0980; 1997.0986 to 1997.1002; and 1997.1047 to 1997.1048 Johnson also donated a number of airplane models to the Museum, such as, for example: 1997.0060; 1997.0061; 1997.0062; 1997.0767; 1997.0768; 1997.0769; 1997.0964; and 1997.1038. He also donated a large collection of equipment and tools to the Museum, such as his coveralls, 1997.1093 and 1997.1094, and his identification tag for McDonnell Douglas, 1997.0978.

        Alpha-numeric designations

        Accession number: AH0115.

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        Written by A. Torrance, 2022. Translated by Céline Mongeau, Larocque Linguistic Services, 2023-03.

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