He was, he will always be an original – a delight on both sides of the ocean. Born in England, John acquired a love of things antique, but most especially toys, paper creations, and anything with an air of fantasy. He pursued this love with talent and dedication, and it led to a long-term appointment as Curator of Dolls and Toys at The Museum of the City of New York. Here he could meet with doll artists and other creators of magic, and here he created a magic of his own. Another facet of John’s character was a deep religiosity and together with his lifelong partner he conducted a ministry in the city.

A visit to his office in the museum was an honor and a treat. There were always new objects to be admired. And there was John’s inextinguishable enthusiasm for the works of other artists and creators of fantasy such as unique and imaginative doll houses. Unforgettable was the large central exhibit he mounted in the museum in conjunction with the United Federation of Doll Clubs annual convention in New York City in 1979, with many rare and wonderful French bisque dolls strolling and playing in an extensive park scene complete with ponds and bridges. Equally unforgettable was the delightful manner in which he verbally danced through a slide program at that same convention after his slides had been upset and haphazardly replaced by the projectionist. No one ever had such flair!

John continued to work with other museums and exhibits after his retirement and the move to California, and here he did much of his writing for all the major publications in our field. His love for antique dolls was equaled by his love and appreciation for the work of the top doll creators of our time. He also found time to put all his artistic talents to work in creating treasured paper dolls for publication. He was a man of wide talents and tastes, and also possessed a wonderful and wicked sense of humor. All of these aspects endeared him to his many readers and friends throughout the world. We have lost a very special person in our special world.

~Estelle Johnston