Skip to main content

Byron L. Johnson papers

Identifier: COU:876

Scope and Contents

The 1st accession, received June 7, 1977, consists of 2 boxes (3 linear feet) containing publications of the University of Colorado Regents including financial reports, biennial reports, student reports, and folders of material pertaining to other activities at the University including speakers, violence, day care, women’s rights, and other material from the 1970s; and church related activities.

The 2nd accession, received in 2015, was transferred from the Auraria Library Archives and Special Collections (Denver, CO). It consists of 71.25 linear feet and 57 boxes. The 2nd accession includes pamphlets, papers, articles, biographical information, correspondence, clippings, computer files, and other items covering his undergraduate years; University of Denver and University of Colorado Denver faculty tenure; political career, and government positions in Wisconsin, Colorado, and the Federal Government, University of Colorado Board of Regents; and other material for the period 1933 to 1999.


  • 1908 - 1970


Byron Lindberg Johnson was born on October 12, 1917 in Chicago, Illinois. He attended public schools in Illinois and Wisconsin and graduated from the Oconomowoc High School in 1933.

Johnson began undergraduate work in Madison at the University of Wisconsin in 1934. As an undergraduate, Johnson was elected to Phi Kappa Phi and Delta Sigma Rho (speech) and Artus (economics). In addition to graduating with honors, Johnson was the recipient of the Herfurth Award for the most senior man. His early interest in Government, Economics, and Religion are the cornerstones of his work and the collection in general.

Upon graduation in 1938, Johnson married Catherin Teter; they would eventually have three children, Steven, Cristi, and Eric. The same year he started an in-service training apprenticeship as a statistician for the Wisconsin State Board of Health, and as a rate analyst for the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

After completing graduate work in Economics and Political Science, Johnson found employment with the Fiscal Division of the U.S. Bureau of the Budget—a key part of the Executive Office of the President.

Continuing his academic pursuits, Johnson completed his comprehensives for his Ph.D. by 1942. Five years later his thesis, “The Principle of Equalization Applied to the Allocation of Grants-in-Aid” was published by the Social Security Administration.

On completion of his doctoral thesis, Johnson started teaching at the University of Denver in a social science division; he remained there for nine years

In addition to his academic duties, Johnson was an active member of the Denver Community. Between 1948 and 1951 he organized and directed the construction of South Dahlia Lane, the first F.H.A.-Insured, management-type, cooperative housing in the nation.

From 1953-1958 Johnson was responsible for organizing and preparing for the construction of the first F.H.A.-insured housing for the elderly. This was a church sponsored cooperative of 148 units at East Kentucky Circle in Denver. Furthermore, Johnson helped secure the first legislation encouraging such housing developments. In 1956, he continued his work for elderly housing in New York as a consultant to the State Housing Commission.

Along with his increased activity in the community came an expansion of political activity. In 1955-56, he was elected State Representative in the 40th General Assembly of Colorado. This led to services as Administrative Assistant to the Governor of Colorado (Steve McNicols) and eventual election to the 86th Congress from North East Colorado. Appointed to the Banking and Currency committee, he found that he was involved in finding ways to pay the U.S. share of its membership in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The Committee also reported on Eisenhower’s program for the (Latin) Inter-American Development Bank and the Social Progress Fund which Kennedy thereafter named the Alliance for Progress. His final duty for the committee was a tour (with Rep. Reuss) of European Capitals to discuss the Balance of Payments question with Central European Bankers and Treasury Secretaries. The report served as the basis of policy by Treasure Secretary Dillon at the start of the Kennedy Administration.

Failing re-election, Johnson served the Kennedy Administration as a member of the International Cooperation Administration, which later became the Agency for International Development. As a professional economist and parliamentarian, he was assigned to delegations to international conferences, serving on every continent except Antarctica. He headed inspection teams to A.I.D. in the Philippines and Chile.

Following his work in Federal Government, Johnson became a Professor of Economics at the University of Colorado in 1965 while maintaining an active role in community affairs. In 1966 he served in a U.S. Delegation of the World Council of Churches. Also, Johnson was chairman of the Mayor’s Committee on Mass Transit from 1966-67, a member of the H.U.D. Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Urban Transit from 1967-68, and a board member of the Metro Denver Urban Coalition from 1968-75

From 1968-1970, Johnson was the director of the Center for Urban Affairs at the University of Colorado at Denver and, in 1970, was elected to the University of Colorado Board of Regents. In 1976, Johnson was re-elected to that position and served till 1982.

Johnson’s involvement in public transportation continued in 1975 when he became a member of the Public Transportation Council. In 1982, he was elected to the Board of Directors of R.T.D. and, in 1984, Johnson acted as Chairman to the Board. In 1984 he also served on the Board of Directors for the American Public Transit Association and, in 1985, was vice-chairman of the Advanced Transit Association.

In 1984 he took partial retirement and in 1988 full retirement per the University policy regarding Professors Emeritus. Byron L. Johnson died January 6th, 2000.


71.25 linear feet

Language of Materials



The Byron L. Johnson Collection was donated, in part, by Byron L. Johnson in 1984. The remainder was relinquished by Steve Johnson, just prior to Byron’s death, in 1999. Additional portions exist in the Archives of the Colorado Historical Society and R.T.D.

Processing Information

Preliminary Inventory by: Staff Edited by: Christine De Vries, December 2, 2014

In Progress
Preliminary Inventory by: Staff Edited by: Christine De Vries, December 2, 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States