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

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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.