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Alexander S. Johnson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alexander S. Johnson
Alexander Smith Johnson (New York judge).jpg
From Volume I of 1912's History of Oneida County, New York from 1700 to the Present Time
Judge of the United States Circuit Courts for the Second Circuit
In office
October 25, 1875 – January 26, 1878
Appointed byUlysses S. Grant
Preceded byLewis Bartholomew Woodruff
Succeeded bySamuel Blatchford
Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals
In office
January 1, 1858 – December 31, 1859
Preceded byHiram Denio
Succeeded byGeorge F. Comstock
Personal details
Born
Alexander Smith Johnson

(1817-07-30)July 30, 1817
Utica, New York
DiedJanuary 26, 1878(1878-01-26) (aged 60)
Nassau, The Bahamas
Resting placeForest Hill Cemetery
Utica, New York
Political partyDemocratic
Republican
EducationYale University
read law

Alexander Smith Johnson (July 30, 1817 – January 26, 1878) was a Judge and Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals and was a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Circuit Courts for the Second Circuit.

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  • ✪ What really happened to the Library of Alexandria? - Elizabeth Cox
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Transcription

2,300 years ago, the rulers of Alexandria set out to fulfill one of humanity’s most audacious goals: to collect all the knowledge in the world under one roof. In its prime, the Library of Alexandria housed an unprecedented number of scrolls and attracted some of the Greek world’s greatest minds. But by the end of the 5th century CE, the great library had vanished. Many believed it was destroyed in a catastrophic fire. The truth of the library’s rise and fall is much more complex. The idea for the library came from Alexander the Great. After establishing himself as a conqueror, the former student of Aristotle turned his attention to building an empire of knowledge headquartered in his namesake city. He died before construction began, but his successor, Ptolemy I, executed Alexander’s plans for a museum and library. Located in the royal district of the city, the Library of Alexandria may have been built with grand Hellenistic columns, native Egyptian influences, or a unique blend of the two--there are no surviving accounts of its architecture. We do know it had lecture halls, classrooms, and, of course, shelves. As soon as the building was complete, Ptolemy I began to fill it with primarily Greek and Egyptian scrolls. He invited scholars to live and study in Alexandria at his expense. The library grew as they contributed their own manuscripts, but the rulers of Alexandria still wanted a copy of every book in the world. Luckily, Alexandria was a hub for ships traveling through the Mediterranean. Ptolemy III instituted a policy requiring any ship that docked in Alexandria to turn over its books for copying. Once the Library’s scribes had duplicated the texts, they kept the originals and sent the copies back to the ships. Hired book hunters also scoured the Mediterranean in search of new texts, and the rulers of Alexandria attempted to quash rivals by ending all exports of the Egyptian papyrus used to make scrolls. These efforts brought hundreds of thousands of books to Alexandria. As the library grew, it became possible to find information on more subjects than ever before, but also much more difficult to find information on any specific subject. Luckily, a scholar named Callimachus of Cyrene set to work on a solution, creating the pinakes, a 120-volume catalog of the library’s contents, the first of its kind. Using the pinakes, others were able to navigate the Library’s swelling collection. They made some astounding discoveries. 1,600 years before Columbus set sail, Eratosthenes not only realized the earth was round, but calculated its circumference and diameter within a few miles of their actual size. Heron of Alexandria created the world’s first steam engine over a thousand years before it was finally reinvented during the Industrial Revolution. For about 300 years after its founding in 283 BCE, the library thrived. But then, in 48 BCE, Julius Caesar laid siege to Alexandria and set the ships in the harbor on fire. For years, scholars believed the library burned as the blaze spread into the city. It's possible the fire destroyed part of the sprawling collection, but we know from ancient writings that scholars continued to visit the library for centuries after the siege. Ultimately, the library slowly disappeared as the city changed from Greek, to Roman, Christian, and eventually Muslim hands. Each new set of rulers viewed its contents as a threat rather than a source of pride. In 415 CE, the Christian rulers even had a mathematician named Hypatia murdered for studying the library’s ancient Greek texts, which they viewed as blasphemous. Though the Library of Alexandria and its countless texts are long gone, we’re still grappling with the best ways to collect, access, and preserve our knowledge. There’s more information available today and more advanced technology to preserve it, though we can’t know for sure that our digital archives will be more resistant to destruction than Alexandria’s ink and paper scrolls. And even if our reservoirs of knowledge are physically secure, they will still have to resist the more insidious forces that tore the library apart: fear of knowledge, and the arrogant belief that the past is obsolete. The difference is that, this time, we know what to prepare for.

Contents

Education and career

Born on July 30, 1817, in Utica, New York,[1] Johnson graduated from Yale University in 1835 and read law in 1838.[1] Johnson entered private practice in Utica from 1838 to 1839,[1] in partnership with Samuel Beardsley.[citation needed] He continued private practice in New York City, New York from 1839 to 1851,[1] in partnership with Elish P. Hurlbut.[citation needed] He was a Judge of the New York Court of Appeals from 1851 to 1859,[1] elected on the Democratic ticket, and was Chief Judge from 1858 to 1859.[2] In November 1859, he was defeated for re-election by Republican Henry E. Davies.[citation needed] He resumed private practice in Utica from 1859 to 1865.[1] He was a Treaty Commissioner under the Oregon Treaty for settling the claims of the Hudson's Bay and Puget Sound Agricultural Companies, from 1865 to 1869,[1] Great Britain being represented by Sir John Rose, 1st Baronet.[2] Warm praise was awarded Johnson in both England and Canada for the sagacity that he displayed in the peaceful settlement of these difficulties, which at one time threatened serious results.[2] He returned to private practice in Utica from 1869 to 1873.[1] He was a member of the New York State Commission on Appeals from 1873 to 1874.[1] In December 1873, he was appointed to the New York Court of Appeals by Governor John Adams Dix to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Rufus Wheeler Peckham.[2] In November 1874, he ran for a full term on the Republican ticket, but was defeated, and left the bench on December 31, 1874.[2]

Federal judicial service

Johnson received a recess appointment from President Ulysses S. Grant on October 25, 1875, to a seat on the United States Circuit Courts for the Second Circuit vacated by Judge Lewis Bartholomew Woodruff.[1] He was nominated to the same position by President Grant on December 15, 1875.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 15, 1875, and received his commission the same day.[1] His service terminated on January 26, 1878, due to his death in Nassau, The Bahamas.[1] He was interred at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Utica.[citation needed]

Family

Johnson was the son of Alexander Bryan Johnson and Abigail Louisa Smith (Adams) Johnson (1798–1836); she was a daughter of Charles Adams and Sally Smith, a niece of William Stephens Smith, and a granddaughter of President John Adams and Abigail Adams.[citation needed] In 1852, Johnson married Catherine M. Crysler (1833–1898), and they had four children.[3]

Honor

In 1859, Hamilton College conferred the title of LL.D. on Johnson.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Johnson, Alexander Smith - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Judge Johnson Sketch of the Republican Candidate for the Court of Appeals" (PDF). New York Times. September 26, 1874.
  3. ^ "Obituary of Mrs. Catherine M. Johnson" (PDF). New York Times. February 6, 1898.

Sources

Further reading

Legal offices
Preceded by
Hiram Denio
Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals
1858–1859
Succeeded by
George F. Comstock
Preceded by
Lewis Bartholomew Woodruff
Judge of the United States Circuit Courts for the Second Circuit
1875–1878
Succeeded by
Samuel Blatchford
This page was last edited on 3 May 2019, at 06:30
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