The Van Johnson collection consists of photographs, correspondence, professional material, printed material, manuscripts, scrapbooks, and other items.
Photographs in the collection primarily consist of production and film stills from various films in which Johnson acted. Titles include The War Against Mrs. Hadley (1942); Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant (1942); Murder in the Big House (1942); A Guy Named Joe (1943); The Human Comedy (1943); Two Girls and a Sailor (1944); The White Cliffs of Dover (1944); Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944); Three Men in White (1944); Thrill of a Romance (1945); Week-End at the Waldorf (1945); Easy to Wed (1946); Till the Clouds Roll By (1946); High Barbaree (1947); The Bride Goes Wild (1948); State of the Union (1948); Command Decision (1948); Mother is a Freshman (1949); Scene of the Crime (1949); In the Good Old Summertime (1949); Battleground (1949); The Big Hangover (1950); Duchess of Idaho (1950); Grounds for Marriage (1950); Mr. Congressman (1951); Go For Broke! (1951); Too Young to Kiss (1951); When in Rome (1952); Washington Story (1952); Invitation (1952); Plymouth Adventure (1952); Confidentially Connie (1953); Remains to Be Seen (1953); Easy to Love (1953); The Siege at Red River (1954); The Caine Mutiny (1954); Brigadoon (1954); The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954); Men of the Fighting Lady (1954); The End of the Affair (1955); The Bottom of the Bottle (1956); Miracle in the Rain (1956); 23 Paces to Baker Street (1956); Slander (1956); Kelly and Me (1957); Action of the Tiger (1957); The Last Blitzkrieg (1958); Beyond This Place (1959); Subway in the Sky (1959); Wives and Lovers (1963); The Doomsday Flight (television movie, 1966); Divorce American Style (1967); Yours, Mine and Ours (1968); Company of Killers (television movie, 1970); Glitter (slides, television movie, 1984); and The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). Other professional photographs in the collection include numerous head shots, photo albums, slides, and other items, including two signed prints of Johnson and Ronald Reagan.
Personal photographs in the collection include a photo album documenting the Johnsons' week in Chicago, May 22-29, 1953; prints of various friends and family; images from Johnson's fiftieth and seventieth birthday parties; and other various prints.
Correspondence in the collection primarily consists of numerous cards to and from Johnson, dating from the 1970s to 2002, including cards from Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor. Also present are numerous fan mail letters, one from 1956 and the rest from 1970 to 2003; included is a letter from Hugh Downs regarding the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States.
Professional material in the collection consists of Johnson's appointment books and daily planners from 1961-1986.
Printed material in the collection includes items regarding Johnson's theatre work (programs, flyers, posters, invitations, and tickets, 1950-1999), including a bound book of programs (1945-1964); numerous newspaper clippings (1945-1999); magazines (1949-1995); sheet music; promotional material; and other items.
Manuscripts in the collection primarily consist of screenplays for films in which Johnson acted. Titles include Murder in the Big House (1942); A Guy Named Joe (1943); Madame Curie (1943); The White Cliffs of Dover (1944); Between Two Women (1944); No Leave, No Love (1946); In the Good Old Summertime (1949); Duchess of Idaho (1950); Washington Story (1952); The Siege at Red River (1954); The Caine Mutiny (1954); Men of the Fighting Lady (1954); The Bottom of the Bottle (1956); The Last Blitzkrieg (1958); Subway in the Sky (1959); Company of Killers (1970); and The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). Screenplays for films in which Johnson did not appear include Rich Man, Poor Man ("Book II, Chapter V"; 1976) and Beer (1985).
Teleplays in the collection include the two episodes of the series Murder, She Wrote titled Hit, Run and Homicide (season 1, episode 6, 1984) and Hannigan's Wake (season 7, episode 4, 1990), as well as the specials (where Johnson appeared as himself) Night of 100 Stars (1982) and The Kennedy Center Honors (1982). The collection also includes manuscripts for other various television specials, as well as commercials, stage plays, specials, musicals, voice-overs, and other programs.
The collection also includes a proof copy of June Allyson's self-titled autobiography (Putnam, 1982)
Scrapbooks in the collection includes several items dating from the 1940s to the 1980s, all concerning various Johnson performances (including The Caine Mutiny, Brigadoon, and others) as well as his family and personal life.
Other items in the collection include a film reel titled Hollywood Palace (1967); and various personal effects and other memorabilia belonging to Johnson.