Sunday, August 02, 2009

PROFILE: Roy P. Johnson

I recently obtained a second-hand copy of Roy P. Johnson's Red River Valley. It's an invaluable resource containing articles published by Mr. Johnson between 1941 and 1963 in the Fargo Forum. According to sources, his articles contained among other things, unique pieces of oral history that were disappearing at the very time he was able to collect them from those who either lived the events, or had heard them told by those that did. Now that's my kind of guy - appreciative, resourceful, and taking the time to document and share while there's still time!
Although he considered himself an "amateur" historian, much of his oeuvre is unique and irreplaceable. His newspaper columns remain the most detailed and incisive chronicle of the history of the Red River of the North and its environs. He captured moments in frontier history at a time when oral history and personal reminiscence could still fill in the blank spaces left by official histories and biographies, producing what remains one of the primary sources for Red River Valley history. From Wikipedia
I plan on taking a close look at the book to see if it has anything to offer about our particular area, and if so, I will share here. I also many times use such books as a stepping stone for ideas, doing further research off of clues they provide and digging even deeper. At least that's the plan...