Alvin Johnson

Alvin Saunders Johnson (December 18, 1874 – June 7, 1971) was an American economist and a co-founder and first director of The New School.

Alvin Johnson was born near Homer, Nebraska. He was educated at the University of Nebraska and Columbia (Ph.D., 1902). Afterwards, he was employed in various positions at Columbia, the University of Nebraska, the University of Texas, the University of Chicago, Leland Stanford and at Cornell after 1913.

He was assistant editor of the Political Science Quarterly in 1902-06, and editor from 1917 of the New Republic in New York City.

He was a co-founder of The New School in New York in 1918, becoming its director in 1922. Johnson helped to save numerous central European scholars from persecution by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s, then brought them to a specially-created division of the New School which became known as the “University in Exile”. He was also an editor of the massive Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences.

He officially retired in December 1945, and died in 1971 in Upper Nyack, New York.

For more in the New School Archives on Alvin Johnson, see here.


Alvin Johnson holding an open book. The New School Photograph Collection. New School Archives and Special Collections Digital Archive. Web. 07 Nov 2014.