Johnson, Charles D. (1888–1977)

By: Charles M. Tolbert

Type: Biography

Published: February 1, 1995

Charles D. Johnson, teacher and college administrator, the son of Charles Albert and Evangeline (Howell) Johnson, was born at Banner, Mississippi, on May 27, 1888. He married Claude Jaudon Eager on November 26, 1913; they had one son. Johnson earned A.B. and A.M. degrees from Mississippi College in 1910 and 1916 respectively. He did further graduate study at Johns Hopkins University in 1917, the University of Missouri in 1919, and the State University of Iowa, where he was awarded a Ph.D. in 1921. His career in education began in Calhoun, Mississippi, where he served as superintendent of public schools from 1911 to 1913. He taught English at Clark College in Newton, Mississippi, in 1914–15 and at Ouachita College in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, from 1917 to 1922. In the fall of 1922 he joined the faculty of Baylor University as chairman of the public discourse department. He organized the Baylor School of Commerce and Business Administration in 1923 and served as its head until 1927, when he was named chairman of the journalism department. In the latter capacity, he organized the Southwestern Journalism Congress. Johnson left Baylor in the fall of 1929 to become president of Ouachita College in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, a position he held until 1933. He was head of the department of social science at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Arkansas from 1933 to 1936 and served as acting president in 1935. He was academic dean of Blue Mountain College from 1936 to 1938, during which time he founded the Southern Literary Festival. In 1938 he returned to Baylor as director of publicity and chairman of the publications board. In that position he established an alumni magazine, the Baylor Century. He was named chairman of the sociology department in 1939 and held that post until his retirement in 1960.

Throughout much of his career Johnson was a member of the education commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; he was chairman of the group from 1932 to 1952. He founded and edited the commission's publication, College News and Views, from 1936 to 1946 and its successor, Southern Baptist Educator, from 1947 to 1953. The culmination of his work in this area came in 1955 with the publication of Higher Education of Southern Baptists. He was given honorary doctorates by Mississippi College in 1950 and Mercer University in 1953. In 1980 the Education Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention established the Charles D. Johnson Outstanding Educator Award to be given annually for excellence in service to the denomination's colleges and schools. Johnson died on October 19, 1977, at Monticello, Arkansas.

Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists (4 vols., Nashville: Broadman, 1958–82). Charles D. Johnson, Higher Education of Southern Baptists (Waco: Baylor University Press, 1955). Charles D. Johnson Papers, Texas Collection, Baylor University.
  • Education
  • University Presidents and School Administrators
  • Religion
  • Baptist

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Charles M. Tolbert, “Johnson, Charles D.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995