Thursday, March 15, 2012

Edward William Johnston in St. Louis, 1860

In 1860, Edward William Johnston (October 17, 1799-December 9, 1867) was living in St. Louis, Missouri, working as librarian of the St. Louis Mercantile Library Association. At least part of the time, he resided at Barnum's Hotel (pictured above), situated at the corner of Walnut and Second Street. There is also evidence that he held residence in the Village of Eureka (founded in 1858), Missouri, around this time, as well:

Though Johnston's librarian's salary was not much per se, as of June 1860 he did have -- according to the 1860 U.S. Census -- a personal estate worth $700 and real estate worth $6,000. By contrast, the Assistant Librarian (John Jay Bailey, 28 years old) had a personal estate estimated to be worth $150, and no real estate, while the Janitor of the Library (George Hass, originally from Bohemia, 25 years old) may have been working for room and board only or at best a paltry wage, as he is listed as having a zero net personal or real estate. The American Civil War would change all this, of course.

Erik D. France:

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