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Identifier: WH1074


This collection comprises the papers, clippings and other documents assembled by Byron Johnson as a state representative and as a member of the U.S. Congress. Items related to a short-lived attempt at a liberal coalition in the mid-1960s called the National Conference for New Politics are also found here. Johnson was a leading expert on public transportation, and those interests are much in evidence in his collection.

Many of the materials were accumulated while he was serving as a professor at the University of Denver, and later at the University of Colorado's Denver campus. He served as administrative assistant to Colorado Governor Steve McNichols and was on numerous boards, including the Regional Transportation District (RTD). Items from his time as a regent of the University of Colorado are also in the collection. He was a cofounder of Senior Housing of Colorado, Inc. and many documents - both local and national in scope - pertaining to housing the elderly are in this collection. He was a frequent speaker and panelist, and notes for talks and discussions are among the items in these papers.


This series comprises campaign literature and clippings from the Byron Johnson campaigns and those of other individuals. He attended the 1960 Democratic National Convention and some items are present from that event. Items from the short-lived National Conference for New Politics dealing with a 1967 meeting in Chicago as well as some other national political organizations are found here. Notes for his speeches and correspondence related to politcal activities comprise part of this series.


This series comprises documents leading to the establishment of the organization Senior Homes of Colorado, Inc. It includes nationwide research on housing for the elderly and documents related to the organization and operation of Kentucky Circle Village.


This series comprises extensive research on all aspects of urban transportation including highways, trains, monorails, and personal rapid transit vehicles. The demise of the Denver Tramway Corporation and creation of the Regional Transportation District (RTD) form part of this series. Documents include: ongoing issues of transportation in the Denver Metropolitan area, a sampling of efforts made in other states including the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in California, and documents from numerous transportation conferences.


This series comprises materials related to Johnson's twelve years as an elected member of the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado, and some historical reports and directories.


This series comprises a mixture of documents including advertisements, sample ballots and clippings, local and national transportation issues, Colorado's centennial celebration, and the University of Colorado.


  • 1949-1993

Language of Materials

Material is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.


Byron Lindberg Johnson was born October 12, 1917, in Chicago, Illinois. His family moved to Wisconsin in 1927, where he graduated from Oconomowoc High School in 1933. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, graduating in 1938 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and minors in political science and speech. Johnson married Catherine “Kay” Teter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 22, 1938. They had three children: Steven, Christine and Eric.

In 1938, Johnson was hired by the Wisconsin State Board of Health as a statistician. In 1939, he took a job with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission as a rate analyst. In 1940, after he received his master’s degree in economics, Johnson returned to the statistician position with the Wisconsin Board of Health until 1942. Johnson was a pacifist who worked during World War II in the executive office of President Roosevelt serving as a fiscal analyst in the Bureau of the Budget, from 1942 until 1944, when he moved to the Social Security Administration. He worked as a Social Security economist until 1947, when he received his doctorate in economics from the University of Wisconsin.

Johnson moved to Denver, Colorado, in 1947 to accept the position of Assistant (and later Associate) Professor of Economics at the University of Denver. He co-founded and served as first president (1948-1951) of the Mile High Housing Association, which created South Dahlia Lane, the nation’s first Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured management cooperative. His wife, Kay, also served as President of the Association. Johnson's interest in issues effecting senior citizens culminated in the creation of Senior Housing of Colorado, Inc., which combined the efforts of four churches to subsidize apartment style living for people over 50.

After narrowly losing a race for the Colorado House of Representatives in 1952, Johnson was elected to the Colorado state legislature representing Arapahoe County in 1954. Defeated in his bid for reelection in 1956, he worked for two years as administrative assistant to Colorado Governor Steve McNichols, taking a leave of absence from University of Denver until 1957 when he resigned to run for Congress. Johnson’s campaign in 1958 was successful and he took his seat in the 86th U.S. Congress on January 3, 1959. He served only one term, representing the 2nd district of Colorado. He attended the Democratic convention in 1960 that nominated John F. Kennedy for president and was also a delegate to the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. In 1960, Johnson received the Carle Whitehead Award from the Colorado Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Johnson worked for the Agency for International Development from its inception in 1961 until 1965.

Hired as a professor at the University of Colorado Denver Center (UCD) in 1965, Johnson became Director of the Center for Urban Affairs. Transportation issues were a prominent part of Johnson’s interests while a legislator and as chairman of the Mayor’s Committee on Mass Transit. In 1976, he co-founded the Public Transportation Council. Johnson continued to teach at the University of Colorado Denver Center until his retirement in 1984. In 1970, he was elected to the first of two six-year terms on the Colorado University Board of Regents, two years later he was unsuccessful in a bid for a seat in the 93rd Congress. He served on the board of the Regional Transportation District (RTD) from 1982-1984 and was elected vice-chairman in 1983, and chairman in 1984.

He alos became a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado. Byron Johnson died on January 6, 2000.


5 Boxes


1 OVBox

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Byron Johnson, 1980, 1997.


Transferred to WHG: Douglas County Profile (RTD, 1972); Denver Profile (RTD, 1972); Arapahoe County Profile (RTD, 1972); CBD area transit study (1975); Small area analysis, the East Colfax corridor demonstration (1975); Continental Divide tunnels - Report No. 2 Straight Creek Tunnel (1956); Report No. 3 Vasquez Pass Tunnel (1956); Report No. 4 Berthoud Pass Tunnel (1956); Transit dependency in Denver; Cherry Creek activity center, environmental inventory.


Catalog record based on preliminary inventory.


Roger L. Dudley

April 2008


Ellen Zazzarino

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States