Todd Johnson
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Smithfield, NC 27577
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Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone: 919-934-2836
Historical Image and Manuscript Archives


Reuben Johnson Photograph Collection

Collection Date(s):   1940  to 1980

Call Number(s):  PHC 38

Physical Description:  approx. 30 cubic feet of photographic prints and negatives

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Biographical Sketch:  Reuben Lynn Johnson (1906-1983) was a free-lance commercial photographer in Smithfield from the late 1930s until about 1980. He also operated a cafe, the Jiffy Lunch, in downtown Smithfield from the early 1940s until the late 1950s, at the same time working part-time for Underwood Funeral Home across the street from his cafe. His photography included the standard family portraits and weddings but is most valuable for the record he left of family reunions, funerals, crime and wreck scenes, school and church groups, civic clubs, businesses, parades, and other local events. He captured diverse people throughout Johnston County in an era when the mechanization of agriculture and the end of racial segregation were beginning to bring monumental social and economic changes to the county's rural communities and small towns.

Collection Description:  Only a small fraction of the thousands of photographs in this collection have been digitized, most of them from the 1950s and 1960s. Topics include auto dealers, Bill Joe Austin Band, baseball, Benson Singing Convention, Burlington Industries, churches, Johnston County Country Club, Farmers Day, Fieldcrest Mills, Goat Man, Griggs Equipment, Ham and Egg Show, Congressman Harold Cooley, Johnston County Health Department, Jerold plant, Johnston County Training School, judges, kindergartens, K. R. Edwards, lawyers, library, March of Dimes, museums, Myrtle Airport, National Guard, post offices, railroads, religion, restaurants, Salvation Army, Selma oil terminals, Selma parade, Shallcross, Smithfield Oil and Gin Company, Sylvania, theaters, tobacco market, tractors and trucks, trains, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Underwood Funeral Home, Smithfield water plant, Whitley Brothers Wholesale, and WMPM radio station.

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