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Johnson, Roy Melisander (1881-1960) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Johnson, Roy Melisander (1881-1960)

Historical Note:

A respected and prominent Ardmore, Oklahoma, oil man, Roy Melisander Johnson was born in 1881 and raised in Wisconsin. After graduating from Union College in 1899, he became a linotype operator in Beaumont, Texas. In 1907, he moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma and founded a newspaper, The Ardmore Statesman, then made his fortune by leasing land and contracting with drillers when the Healdton Oil Field was discovered. He left the newspaper to become president of the Healdton Petroleum Company in 1915. He later served as the director of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and served various civic organizations in addition to becoming the deacon of his church.

Secretly, Johnson was also assembling an extensive collection of erotica. Networking with agents nationwide, he contracted with modernist writers to provide him with stories, including copies and originals. Although the stories were unsigned and thus difficult to attribute, the writers included Caresse Crosby, Robert Duncan, Lawrence Durrell, George Barker, Virginia Admiral, Robert DeNiro, Sr., Gene Fowler, and Clement Wood, among others. Three writers who admitted writing for Johnson are Bernard Wolfe, Henry Miller, and Anaïs Nin.

Sources: Between the Covers Rare Books, Inc.

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