Guide to the Irma Leah Johnstone Collection (1900s – 1920s)

Overview +


Collection Number



This collection was created by the Johnstone family of 10 Campbell St., Santa Cruz, CA. It was donated in 2002 by Ian Blackwood of Prospect Heights, Santa Cruz.


Number of Containers:  One (1) Box
Linear Feet:  1.0 Linear Foot


Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Archives
705 Front Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


This collection consists of a baby book for Irma Leah Johnstone, photograph album, music recital programs, and postcards all pertaining to the life of the Johnstone family who lived in Santa Cruz during the early to mid 1900s. Their residence was at 10 Campbell Street.


The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz, CA

Preferred Citation

The Irma Leah Johnstone Collection, The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz, CA

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the head of Archives at MAH.  Researchers may be responsible for obtaining copyright permission to use material not produced by museum personnel.

Process By

Renata McRee

Date Completed


History +

Irma Leah (Johnstone) Bell (1908-1974) was born in Santa Cruz in 1908 to George I. Johnstone (1880-1944) and Jewell Johnstone (1882-1974). Irma’s sister was Cleo (Johnstone) Launspach (1904-1960). The family lived on Campbell Street. George was the principal of the Kingman High School in Kansas before he came to Santa Cruz to be the principal of Mission Hill School. He was well respected by the students, teachers, and the community but stayed only five years, leaving in 1910 for advanced study in education at Stanford. The family did not return to Santa Cruz. In 1920 they were living in Los Angeles, where George was teaching. In 1930 George had remarried and was living in Los Angeles. Jewell had remarried and was living in Oakland. The collection represents a young family, with Irma and Cleo growing up in Santa Cruz. Included are images of the house on Campbell Street and Irma’s baby book.

Arrangement +


Subseries I.A. Postcards and Clippings
Subseries I.B. Recital Programs


Subseries II.A. Photo Album
Subseries II.B. Baby Record Book

Contents +


Two (2) Folders

Series Scope and Content Summary:

This series consists of two (2) folders containing paper memorabilia such as programs for recitals that Irma Leah Johnstone played at, newspaper clippings, birth announcements, postcards and more. Date range: 1908-19

This series is divided into the following subseries:

Subseries I.A. Postcards and Clippings
Subseries I.B. Recital Programs


One (1) Folder, ten (10) Items

Subseries Scope and Content Summary:

This subseries consists of one (1) 9” (height)x6” (length) envelope “folder” filled primarily with postcards from the Johnstone family. Other items include: undated newspaper clipping of an article entitled “Melting Pot” about the ethnic diversity of America’s textile industry; 2×3” card announcing birth of Irma Leah Johnstone in 1908; undated newspaper clipping of poem entitled “When Thoreau Died” by Mabel Hatton Marks; and a ticket stub for the Santa Barbara bowl; and a photo (no date) of a young girl and a woman near the porch of a house. The postcards include: 1912 postcard with photo of a child (age 5-6) and teddy bear; postcard dated 1912 of Mountain Laurel plants from Woodstock, N.Y.; postcard of two girls (age 3 ½-4); postcard of child (age 5-6) on toy tractor dated 1913; postcard of a Christmas tree dated “Christmas 1912”. Date range: 1908-1913

Box ID#: Folder ID#:



One (1) Folder

Subseries Scope and Content Summary:

This subseries consists of one (1) folder filled with twelve (12) piano and violin recital programs for performances given by the students of Phyllis Lucy Keyes and Mildred Jamison at Y.W.C.A. Recital Hall in Orange, Los Angeles; the Colonial Theatre, Orange; and at the Women’s Club Auditorium in Hollywood. Some of these programs are duplicates. Other items include: photo copy of a newspaper clipping from the S.C. Daily entitled “Prof. G.I. Johnstone Resigns as Principal of Mission Hill School” and dated 1910; and certificate dated 1920, from the Junior Department of the Hollywood Methodist Bible School certifying Irma L. Johnstone’s promotion to Intermediate Department. Date range: 1900s-1920s

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Two (2) books

Series Scope and Content Summary:

This series consists of two (2) books. One book is a photo album with family photos of the Johnstone family; the other is a book of memorabilia from Irma Leah Johnstone’s infancy, compiled by her family. Date range: 1900s-1920s

This subseries is divided into the following subseries:

Subseries II.A. Photo Album
Subseries II.B. Baby Record Book


One (1) Album

Subseries Scope and Content Summary:

This subseries consists of one (1) approx. 6×7 ½” album bound with thick black cardboard. Inside are approx. fifty (50) double-sided pages containing 4×4” and 4×6” black and white photos of the Johnstone family. The photos are in good condition. These photos depict groups of men, women, and children on the beach, at their residence and more. Other photos depict the entire Johnstone house; children playing with toys-possibly Irma and her friends or siblings; the nicely furnished interior of the Johnstone house; photos of a baby and carriage, photos of a cabin entitled “Swastika” which may be a summer cottage in the forest; photos of forests, redwoods trees, and waterfalls; the family in a greenhouse; Lick’s Observatory; photos with the caption “Rocky Glen, Santa Cruz Sept. 1907”; and eight loose items. The loose items are mostly photos, including one captioned “West Lake Park-July 1915” and one of a man in a uniform, dated 1916. Another loose item is a ticket for Gardner Pet Show at Gardner St. School dated 1922. Date range: 1907-1922

Box ID#: Folder ID#:



One (1) Book

Subseries Scope and Content Summary:

This series consists of one (1) 11” (height) x8” (length) book with a powder blue cardboard and cloth cover featuring the words “Baby’s Record by Maud Humphrey,” and an illustration of an infant and dog printed in silver. Inside the book are a photo of the baby’s birthplace, 10 Campbell St. Santa Cruz, CA; a lock of hair, and a record of the infant’s eye color, physician’s name, date of birth, and other information. The book is for Irma Leah Johnstone and includes 12 full color illustration by illustrator Maud Humphrey and was published 1898 by Frederick A. Stokes of New York. The book also includes photos of Irma as a baby; at 14 months with her sister; with other family members; gifts for little Irma such as Valentine’s; drawings from her grandmother; records of birthday gifts given; and much more. The book is in good condition and likely dates from 1908-1911.

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