Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Johnson, Frederick, 1904-1994
Frederick Johnson (1904-1994), A1929, H1966, third recipient of the Presidential Medal, was a respected archeologist and curator of the Robert S. Peabody Foundation.
Johnson was born in Everett, Massachusetts, on January 16, 1904.He attended the public schools there before entering Tufts College in 1923.After his first year of studies, Johnson attended the University of Pennsylvania, were he continued until 1927, when he returned to Tufts and earned his B.A. in sociology in 1929.From 1929 to 1936, Johnson irregularly continued his studies at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where he worked as a part-time instructor in anthropology from 1934 to 1936.
During his undergraduate years he participated in field trips studying native Americans, and after graduation he served as an archeologist on expeditions conducted under the auspices of the Peabody Museum of Harvard University. He married Dorothy Murfitt in 1933 and in 1938, he was appointed curator of the Robert S. Peabody Foundation for Archeology at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Johnson pioneered the development of a multi-disciplinary approach to archeology, along with the application of radiocarbon dating.
Johnson served as president of the Society for American Archeology and as executive secretary of the American Anthropological Association. In 1966, Tufts award him an honorary degree in recognition of his scientific achievements and in 1977, he was the recipient of the Presidential Medal. He died on August 22, 1994.