Queer Places
150 Bowery, New York, NY 10012
Mott Haven, Mott Avenue, The Bronx, NY 10451
389 Clinton St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
14 John St, New York, NY 10038

John Henry Johnston (1837 – March 16, 1919) was a New York jeweler and close friend of Walt Whitman. He had his store at 150 Bowery, New York. Johnston was also a friend of Joaquin Miller. Whitman visited the Johnstons for the first time early in 1877. In 1888 he observed to Horace Traubel: I count [Johnston] as in our inner circle, among the chosen few.

J.H. Johnston was a New York jeweler who befriended Whitman and provided personal and financial support for the aging poet. Johnston often opened his house to Whitman. During a month-long visit in February 1877, Whitman was introduced to a variety of people, among them Richard Watson Gilder. Whitman's visit was marred, however, by the sudden illness and death of Johnston's first wife on the day he planned to leave. After Johnston's marriage to his second wife, Alma Calder Johnston, Whitman returned in June 1878 to visit the Johnston home, now on upper Fifth Avenue. During August 1881, Whitman stayed with the Johnstons at their summer home at Mott Haven on the Harlem River to finish editing his new Leaves of Grass. Whitman apparently felt at home with the Johnstons, whose children referred to him affectionately as "Uncle Walt."

Johnston was also instrumental in organizing fund raisers for Whitman's benefit. He was the chief organizer of the 1887 benefit for Whitman in conjunction with the Lincoln lecture at Madison Square Theater. In October 1890 Johnston arranged the benefit lecture by Robert G. Ingersoll in Philadelphia, which realized $870. Whitman trusted Johnston's financial acumen, finding him to be acute in business matters.

Alma Calder Johnston's literary endeavors include a recollection of Whitman (1917) and a story, Miriam's Heritage (1878).

John H. Johnston lived at 389 Clinton Street, NY. He was born in Sydney, NY, in 1837, and moved to New York in 1858. He retired from business in 1909, when he was located at 14 John Street, Manhattan.

My published books:

See my published books