NE Quadrant, Journalists, Also of Interest

Philander C. Johnson
(February 6, 1866 - May 18, 1939)

1020 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Lincoln Park neighborhood, DC.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, Johnson was an American journalist, humorist, poet, and playwright. He was educated in Cincinnati and worked as a writer for the Merchant Traveller before moving to Washington. He was a reporter for the Washington Critic, Washington Capital, and Washington Post, before becoming dramatic critic and a columnist for the Washington Evening Star from 1895-1900.

He wrote a number of plays, including The Happy Ending (1908) and In The Tall Timber (1912). Although unsuccessful as a playwright, his books include Sayings of Uncle Eben (1896) and Now-A-Day Poems (1900) but Johnson is best remembered for his best-selling volume Senator Sorghum's Primer of Politics or, Helpful Hints on the Science of Not Getting the Worst of It (1906). The book was an instant success and called a "vade mecum" for all politicians. It collected the advice of a fictional Southern politician "Senator Sorghum." Although largely forgotten, a sign of Johnson's success lies in the fact that many of Senator Sorghum's aphorisms have been credited to later political leaders.

He is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery.