Shirley Z. Johnson Papers

Summary
Collection ID:
FSA.A2016.06
Dates:
1979-2015
Languages:
English
Collection is primarily in English with some material in written Chinese.
Physical Description:
4 Linear feet
consisting of 8 legal document boxes.
Repository:
The Shirley Z. Johnson Papers, dating from 1979-2015, measure 4 linear feet and include an inventory, correspondence, and research files related to Johnson's collection of Chinese textiles.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of Shirley Z. Johnson measure 4 linear feet and date from 1979-2015. The papers largely relate to Johnson's collection of textiles. The papers include inventories, object files, correspondence, and research files.
The inventories and object files document Johnson's textile collecting and include book lists, images, documentation, and research organized by individual object.
The correspondence files include letters, notes, emails, news clippings, interview notes, museum object lists, press releases, and notes related to the holdings of museums, art dealers. They also contain information related to imperial robes and the individual Yan Yong, a scholar and Deputy Director of the Court History Department and the Head of the Division of Textile at the Palace Museum in Beijing, China.
Research files comprise printed material, articles and speech drafts, and notes related to Chinese textile research. Topics represented in the records include sumptuary laws, symbolism in religious traditions in China, rank badges in various Chinese military branches, and instructions for dating textiles.
The original container numbers established by the creator are documented with their corresponding files.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The Shirley Z. Johnson papers are arranged in six series.
Series 1: Inventories
Series 2: Correspondence with Collectors
Series 3: Correspondence with Dealers
Series 4: Correspondence with Museums
Series 5: Correspondence with Curators
Series 6: Research Files

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Shirley Z. Johnson was a scholarly collector, antitrust attorney and autism advocate.
Ms. Johnson's first Asian art collection consisted of imperial Chinese textiles about which she wrote an article in Arts of Asia, (1995). Some textiles have been given to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art, the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art (Freer/Sackler), others have been loaned to it and have been promised as a gift. An interest in Chinese textiles began in 1979 when she visited China and purchased four pieces: two from Chinese people seated on the ground among the stone animals leading to the Ming tombs and two rank badges from an antique store on Lui Li Chang street in Beijing.
Beginning in about 1992, she became interested in Japanese metal work, when she spotted a piece she liked of the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) at Orientations Gallery in New York. Thereafter, she collected metal art of that era until 2006, when she began collecting work of living metal artists. She gave her collection of Meiji metal work to the Walters in 2019 (along with Japanese cloisonné and prints) and has promised her collection of contemporary metal art to the Freer|Sackler, along with extensive archives relating to each piece and interviews with about 100 metal artists beginning in 2006.
She served on the Board of The Textile Museum from 1989-2003 and on the Board of the Smithsonian's Freer|Sackler from 2004-2012 and from 2017 to 2021.
Ms. Johnson had published several articles on Asian art: "Tomobako: Functional Beauty," Impressions, 2020; "Japanese Metal Art: An Enduring Tradition," Arts of Asia, May-June 2017; "Chinese Ancestor Portraits in the Sackler's Collection," Arts of Asia, July-August 2003; "A Textile Collector's Approach to Collecting," Arts of Asia, July-August 1995.
Her legal specialty was antitrust law. She worked as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, was counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Antitrust Subcommittee, and entered private practice in 1976 until she retired in 2009.
She graduated from the University of Michigan law school in 1965 with a Juris Doctor degree and was a member of The Order of the Coif. Previously she received a bachelor's degree in Political Science, summa cum laude, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
In 2004 she founded a unique social skills program for children with autism at the West Burlington, Iowa School District involving classroom guidance, luncheon and after-school groups and a summer camp. Each activity involved both autistic and neurotypical children. The program was called the TRI Project, standing for Intense, Inclusive, Individual.

Administration
Processing Information
In 2016, with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund, the Archives at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives implemented the use of minimal level processing standards to increase information about and facilitate access to more of our collections.
Minimal processing included arrangement to the folder level, based on prior processing and preservation action, with retention of the pre-existing arrangement when possible. Otherwise, an order was imposed by the Processing Archivist. For this collection, minimal level processing was implemented, which included arrangement to the series, subseries and folder levels, adhering to the creator's original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. Non-archival housing was replaced for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed.
Minimal level processing and machine-readable finding aid completed by Kendra Jae, 2017 August and was revised by Shirley Johnson in August 2019.
Author
Kendra Jae and Lisa Fthenakis
Sponsor
Funding for partial processing of the collection was supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund (CCPF).
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Shirley Z. Johnson in 2015.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is restricted until 2140.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Preferred Citation
Shirley Z. Johnson Papers, FSA.A2016.06. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of Shirley Z. Johnson, 2015.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
metropolitan museum of art Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Textile fabrics Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- China Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art -- Collectors and collecting Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Notes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art, Chinese Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 1950-2000 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Textiles Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
Washington, D.C. 20013
AVRreference@si.edu
https://www.freersackler.si.edu/research/archives/