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Johns (Vernon E.) Family Papers

Identifier: SPC-2015-006

Scope and Contents

The Vernon E. Johns Family Papers collection (1903-2015, undated) contains documents pertaining to the professional and personal lives of members of the Johns family from Southern California. The collection was donated by Cal State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) alumnus Vernon E. Johns. It focuses on his parents Harold Johns and Margaret “Betty” Weiskopf Johns, an aeronautical engineer and kindergarten teacher, respectively, as well as his paternal grandmother Millen Johns, an opera singer, and maternal grandfather Charles Weiskopf, an inventor and civil engineer. The bulk of the documents pertain to Harold John’s 35-year career as an engineer with North American Aviation (later known as North American Rockwell and Rockwell International), where he helped design airplanes, fighter jets, and space shuttles, including the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Documents relating to Harold’s career include sketches and diagrams, blueprints, personnel paperwork, company policies and procedures, trade publications, letters and memoranda, reports, and photographs. Also included are Harold Johns’ personal documents, relating to his education (transcripts, assignments, and certificates) and real estate holdings (permits, deeds, and records), as well as correspondence, photographs, and film reels. Documents pertaining to the life and career of Margaret “Betty” Weiskopf Johns include yearbooks from high school through college, transcripts, and certificates, as well as classroom exercises, teaching brochures, certificates, photographs, and correspondence from her time as a kindergarten teacher. Documents focusing on Charles Weiskopf relate to his career as a civil engineer and inventor, including resumes, diagrams and sketches, letters of recommendation, patent documents, and correspondence. Finally, documents pertaining to Millen Johns include newspaper clippings and programs from her time as an opera singer with the San Francisco Opera. Also included are personal documents for both Charles Weiskopf and Millen Johns, including photographs, correspondence, and newspaper clippings. This collection also features books on education, aviation, and aeronautical engineering, which are housed separately.


  • 1903-2015, undated


There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical / Historical

The Vernon E. Johns family papers collection relates to the family history of CSUDH alumnus Vernon E. Johns, specifically, his parents Harold Johns and Margaret “Betty” Weiskopf Johns, maternal grandfather Charles Weiskopf, and paternal grandmother Millen Johns.

Charles Weiskopf was born January 24, 1884 in Cincinnati, Ohio and moved to California in 1910 after his graduation from Ohio Mechanics Institute. He applied for the patent on his “Resilient Wheel,” on June 26, 1911, which was issued three years later on June 16, 1914. The objective of his invention was to provide a cheap, strong, effective wheel that would be non-puncturable and thus safer for drivers. Charles and Amy Weiskopf were married in Los Angeles on May 14, 1914 and had three daughters, June, Beatrice, and Margaret. The family moved to the City of Hawthorne in 1921, where they remained deeply involved in the community until they moved in 1941. Charles received his engineering certificate from the State of California Board of Registration for Civil Engineers on May 20, 1930, making him the first to receive this certificate in California. He eventually retired in June of 1954 from the Western Precipitation Corporation.

Vernon E. Johns’ mother Margaret “Betty” Weiskopf Johns grew up and attended school in the City of Hawthorne. She graduated from UCLA, receiving her degree in education on February 2, 1938. After being certified to teach, she taught at Little Lake School in Santa Fe Springs. Her tenure as the school’s first Kindergarten teacher began on July 6, 1939 and lasted many years. Margaret taught in the demonstration school at UC Berkeley where she soon met and married Harold V. Johns. They were parents to three sons, David (who passed away in infancy), Gordon, and Vernon.

Harold V. Johns grew up in Berkeley, CA, and graduated from Berkeley High School in 1935. In 1940 he graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Geology and a minor in Engineering. After graduation he interviewed with North American Aviation (NAA) using his drafting skills from college. He was directed to report to the NAA in Los Angeles to start work towards the war effort on December 11th, 1941. Initially, the NAA placed Harold in wind tunnel and model testing design where his focus was on various vehicles and materials. He later worked on fighter jet designs such as the XB-70 supersonic bomber, B-24, B-25, and the F-100. In the 1960s, he transitioned to working for the space effort, working as the lead engineer on the command module for the Apollo 11 mission. He continued to work on spacecraft development through the 1970s, assisting in the construction of the International Space Station. Harold Johns retired in 1975 while working on the Space Shuttle Columbia.


16 boxes

7.26 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Vernon E. Johns Family Papers collection (1903-2015, undated) contains documents from the personal lives and careers of the Johns family from Southern California. Donated by Cal State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) alumnus Vernon Johns, the collection concentrates on Johns’ parents Harold Johns and Margaret “Betty” Weiskopf Johns, as well as his maternal grandfather Charles Weiskopf and paternal grandmother Millen Johns. The bulk of the collection pertains to Harold Johns’ 35-year long career in aeronautical engineering. The collection also documents Charles Weiskopf’s career as a civil engineer and inventor, as well as Margaret Weiskopf Johns’ career as a kindergarten teacher and Millen Johns’ work as an opera singer. Also included are correspondence, books and periodicals, yearbooks, newspaper clippings, photographs and slides, and film reels pertaining to the family members’ personal lives.


This collection is organized into four series, each with several subseries:

  1. Series I: Harold Johns Employment Documents, 1939-2015
  2. Sub-series i: Work with North American Aviation, 1940s, 1940-1949
  3. Sub-series ii: Work with North American Aviation, 1950s, 1950-1959
  4. Sub-series iii: Work with North American Aviation, 1960s, 1960-1969
  5. Sub-series iv: Work with North American Aviation/ North American Rockwell, 1970s, 1970-1979
  6. Sub-series v: Work with North American Aviation/ North American Rockwell, undated
  7. Sub-series vi: Blueprints, 1949-1977
  8. Sub-series vii: Trade Publications, 1939-1982
  9. Sub-series viii: Additional Career Documents, 1940-2015
  10. Series II: Harold Johns Personal Documents, 1963-1965
  11. Sub-series i: Education, 1928-1953
  12. Sub-series ii: Correspondence, 1940-1965
  13. Sub-series iii: Real Estate, 1942-1971
  14. Sub-series iv: Reels, 1959-1966
  15. Sub-series v: Photographs, 1936-2013, undated
  16. Sub-series vi: Other Personal Documents, 1920-2019, undated
  17. Series III: Margaret "Betty" Weiskopf Johns, 1928-1982
  18. Sub-series i: Education and Career, 1929-1982
  19. Sub-series ii: Personal Documents, 1928-1946, undated
  20. Series IV: Charles Weiskopf, Millen Johns, and Vernon Johns, 1903-1996, undated
  21. Sub-series i: Charles Weiskopf, 1903-1996, undated
  22. Sub-series ii: Millen Johns, 1910-1982

Acquisition Information

Collection donated to CSUDH Archives by Vernon E. Johns.

Related Materials

For material related to aviation please consult the Northrop Millar Collection, Aviation Magazine, Giacinta Bradley Koontz Aviation Sheet Music Collection, 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet Research Collection, 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet Research Digital Collection and Mary Nolf Diaries and Correspondence for a diary entry regarding the 1910 airmeet.

Separated Materials

This collection contains eight books regarding aviation, aeronautical engineering, space exploration, youth and adult education, and homemaking that are housed separately:

  1. The Student’s Hume: A History of England, based on the history of David Hume, 1866
  2. Practical Housekeeping, H.J. Smith and Company, 1892
  3. The Silver-Burdett Arithmetics, Book One, Philips & Anderson, circa 1920s
  4. The Little Lame Prince, Miss Mullock, circa 1920s
  5. UCLA “Southern Campus” Yearbook, 1937
  6. Aircraft Layout and Detail Design, Newton H. Anderson, 1941
  7. Airplane Design Manual, Frederick K. Teichman, 1942
  8. We Came in Peace: The Story of Man in Space, LeRoi Smith, 1969

Processing Information

Collection processed by Dante Frye in 2015/2016. Collection reprocessed by Allison Wall in September 2022.

Inventory of Vernon E. Johns Family Papers
Allison Wall, 2022
2015; revised and reprocessed 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections Repository

University Library South -5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747