Snapping shots of presidents and captains, and contributing to books and conferences, Johnston hit many highs that even male photographers of the day were unable to achieve. In 1947 she gifted many of her photographs to the Library of Congress. Johnston is most known for her photographs of gardens and historic buildings, though her portraits are also quite stunning. Breath-taking and somewhat haunting, Johnston’s photographs were also used in press publications, making her one of the first female photojournalists.

Via/ Library of Congress
Via/ Library of Congress
Magnolia Plantation, South Carolina, 1928. Via/ Library of Congress
Via/ Library of Congress
Via/ Library of Congress
Presidential bedroom, 1890s. Via/ Library of Congress
Via/ Library of Congress
Wye Plantation, Maryland, 1938. Via/ Library of Congress

So extensive were Johnston’s photographic records of historic buildings in the South that the American Institute of Architects made her an honorary member in 1945. Her wonderful photographs speak volumes about our country and it is very fitting that they are held in the public record for all of us to enjoy.

You can discover more incredible American photography right here.