By Brianne Johnson[Printer Friendly] | [Contact us about this collection]
ID: 500/AppMs 605
Creator: Johnson, Evelyn Bryan (1909-2012)
Extent: 13.0 linear feet. More info below.
Arrangement: The collection is arranged into three series, as follows: Series 1, Subject Files, 1953-2002 and undated; Series 2, Memorabilia, 1931-2001 and undated; and Series 3, Photographs, 1930-1996 and undated.
This collection also consists of some unprocessed letters, photographs and memorabilia. Please contact us for information about these materials.
The Evelyn Bryan Johnson Papers contain newsclippings, magazine articles, and a number of publications documenting her career as a pilot as well as the field of aviation. The photographs in the collection document her career and in particular her induction into the Aviation Museum of Kentucky’s Hall of Fame. There are a number of scrapbooks that contain clippings and photographs of Mrs. Johnson’s career and her work at Moore- Murrell Field.
Evelyn Bryan Johnson, nicknamed “Mama Bird,” was born in Corbin, Kentucky on November 4, 1909. She was one of three children born to Edward William Lockard Stone, a conductor on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and Mayme Fox Stone, a public school teacher. In the spring of 1915, the family moved to Etowah, Tennessee. Evelyn graduated from Tennessee Wesleyan College in 1929 and took a job teaching sixth grade at North Etowah Grammar School.
Evelyn met her first husband, Wyatt Jennings Bryan (W. J.), while attending a summer course at The University of Tennessee. The couple married on March 21, 1931. Evelyn and W. J. both attended the University of Texas in Austin before settling in Jefferson City, Tennessee. Tennessee law at the time required a woman to be married for five years before being employed as a public school teacher. Prohibited from teaching, Evelyn and her husband opened a dry cleaning business, College Cleaners, in 1933. W. J. enlisted in the military in 1941. It was during World War II that Evelyn made the decision to take up flying as a hobby. After seeing an advertisement in a Knoxville paper for flying lessons, she became intrigued with the idea of flying. In October of 1944, Evelyn made the journey to Knoxville for flying lessons and has declared that it was “love at first flight”. On November 8, 1944, Evelyn made her first solo flight, and, in June of 1945, she earned her private pilot license and later earned a commercial license.
What started as a hobby quickly grew into a promising business. In 1947, Evelyn received her flight instructors rating, and, on July 4, 1947, she soloed her first student. In 1949, she bought shares of the Morristown Flying Service, where she flew commercially for sightseeing tours and served as a flight instructor. In 1953, Evelyn was appointed to operate the Morristown Municipal Airport (Moore-Murrell Airport). Evelyn was a writer for the Southeastern Airport News and the Morristown Sun, where her columns featured news and information about pilots and student pilots in East Tennessee.
After the death of Evelyn’s first husband W. J. on November 11, 1963, she married Morgan Johnson in 1965. Morgan Johnson died in 1977.
Evelyn Johnson has had a long career as a pilot and has been honored with a number of recognitions and achievements. She holds the record for the most flying hours for a woman (57,156) and has been inducted into the Women in Aviation Pioneers Hall of Fame (1994) and the Aviation Museum of Kentucky (2000). Evelyn was also awarded a Bronze Carnegie Medal from the Carnegie Foundation, honoring her actions in saving the life of John Ryan after his plane crashed. In 1973, Evelyn was named the flight instructor of the year. She was also the first woman ever elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Flight Instructors (1974). Over the years Evelyn has belonged to a number of organizations, like the “The Ninety-Nines”, an exclusive organization for licensed women pilots. In her career, Evelyn has appeared in many newspaper and magazine articles and has appeared on a number of nationally televised programs. Evelyn Bryan Johnson Day was proclaimed on May 25, 1991 in Morristown, Tennessee.
Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.
The Evelyn Bryan Johnson Papers were donated to the Archives of Appalachia on March 26, 2002 by Evelyn Bryan Johnson, Morristown, Tennessee.
In August 2012, Marilyn Burton donated a small quantity of letters, photographs and memorabilia found in Johnson's house after her death.
Separated Materials: Mama Bird, Biography of Evelyn Bryan Johnson, A Flight Instructor by George Prince was removed from the collection, cataloged, and shelved into Special Collections.
Processing Information: Brianne Johnson processed the collection, and it was opened for research in November 2006.