Nebraska Center for Writers
ALVIN JOHNSON

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ALVIN JOHNSON was a native of Omaha (born near Homer in 1874) who later came to prominence as an economist, fiction writer, editor of New Republic, and, in 1921, Director and later President of the New School for Social Research. As such, he would found in 1933 The University in Exile, a project that rescued endangered scholars who had been dismissed from teaching and government positions by totalitarian regimes in Europe. The project was able to rescue 167 Jewish scholars and their families, including Max Wertheimer, a founder of the Gestalt school of psychology, economists Karl Brandt and Gerhard Colm, who would both be named members of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, and composer Ernst Toch. One of the first graduates of the University in Exile was Franco Modigliani, who would later win the Nobel Prize in Economics. Johnson earned his BS and MA from the University of Nebraska — Lincoln and his PhD in economics from Columbia University. Among his other distinctions is an appointment was a professorship in economics at Cornell University. Johnson was also a founder of the John Dewey Society. Among his published works of fiction are The Battle of the Wild Turkey, and Other Tales (Atheneum, 1961), John Stuyvesant, Ancestor (1920), The Professor and the Petticoat (Dodd, Mead, 1914), Spring Storm (AA Knopf, 1936), and A Touch of Color, and Other Tales (Atheneum, 1963). In 1952, he published his autobiograph, Pioneers Progress. His fiction was often based on his early years in Nebrasa. Among his scholarly works, his Introduction to Economics (DC Heath, 1909) was a standard text for many years. He died in 1971 in his home in Nyack, NY. His manuscripts, correspondence, and papers are housed at UNLís Love Library



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