Clifton Johnson (1865 - 1940)
The accomplished local author Clifton Johnson was born on January 25, 1865 in the village of Hockanum in Hadley, MA. He was the oldest of four children of Chester and Jeanette Johnson. His siblings included Henry R., Charles E. and Jeanette (Nettie). The Johnson ancestors had lived in Hockanum along the Connecticut River since the late 1700s. He attended the Hockanum one-room schoolhouse and then Hopkins Academy in Hadley. In 1880 at 15 he dropped out of Hopkins Academy to work in Northampton, MA at Bridgman and Childs book and stationery store (later Bridgman and Lyman) to help pay off the family mortgage. As his brothers became old enough, they too worked at Bridgman and Childs. About 1886 Johnson taught one winter semester at the Hockanum schoolhouse. During the mid-1880s he began to write articles and produce illustrations for local papers and magazines in the Springfield and Northampton areas. In the fall of 1887 Johnson left Hadley to attend the Art Students League in New York City. In the late 1880s and early 1890s Johnson spent large amounts of time in both Hadley and New York City, writing articles, making illustrations, taking his first photographs, and attending literary and art functions.
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