Today is the 162nd birthday of Thomas Moore Johnson, the namesake of the Thomas Moore Johnson Collection of Philosophy here in Special Collections. What’s in the collection?
The graphic above is a Wordle of all the Library of Congress subject headings in the collection – so you can see that it really is a collection of philosophy. Johnson was interested in Plato and focused his collecting in that area. The oldest imprint is 1494, and there are several hundred volumes with publication dates from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The majority of the collection dates from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Thomas Moore Johnson (1851-1919) was an attorney, collector, and student of philosophy in Osceola, Missouri. Johnson began collecting Greek texts while a student at the University of Notre Dame and his library eventually grew to about 8,000 volumes.
A portion of his library was presented to the University of Missouri-Columbia Libraries in 1947 by his son, Franklin P. Johnson. Another part of the collection remains in Osceola as the Thomas Moore Johnson Library.