Wolverhampton BTW

F. Johnston [or Johnstone]

Johnston [or Johnstone], F., fl. 1829—1845

by Benjamin Colbert

Miss F. Johnston [or Johnstone] appears to have been a Germanist and children's writer/translator of moral and pious works. Her identity and background, however, remain obscure. The title pages for her books cross reference each other, and identify her as the author or translator of the following: Agnes [unidentified, but possibly, Agnes, a Tale Founded on Facts. By a Lady (1829)]; Isaure [unidentified, but possibly a translation or adaptation of a Vaudeville play performed in Paris around 1829, and at the Haymarket Theatre, London, in 1831]; A Brief Sketch of the Siebengebirge, and Godesberg (1839); Parables by F. A. Krummacher, D.D. (trans. fr. German; 1839); and First Tales for Children from the German of Christoph Schmid (trans. fr. German; 1845).

Johnston also contributed poems, translations, and short travel sketches to the New Monthly Belle Assemblée from January 1839 to October 1844. Her travel journalism here comprises a four-part series, ‘The Legends of the Rhine’, as well as an account of an excursion from Sidmouth to Seaton, Devonshire, to visit the site of the Christmas 1839 ‘great landslip’ in which ‘eight million tons of cliff rock had broken off and slid seawards’ (Hawksworth 4). While her translations are predominately from the German (including ‘The Unicorn’, a tale by Carl Maria von Weber, 1786-1826), one is a short poem from the Spanish and there is a series of translations entitled, ‘Thoughts’, by the French poet Constance Marie Theis, Princess de Salm Dyck (1767-1845).

With the publication of First Tales for Children in 1845, ‘Miss F. Johnston’ disappears from sight, although it is possible that she is the Florence Johnston, eldest daughter of Sir William Johnston, K.C.B. (1773-1844; ODNB), whom the Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian reports as having died at Paris on 18 April 1845.


Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian, no. 1135 (Sat., 10 May 1845): 8. Gale Databases: British Library Newspapers, Part II: 1800-1900. Web. 3 Nov. 2017.

Hawksworth, Thea. 'Lyme’s History in Museum Objects 12: The Undercliff Model'. Lyme Regis Museum, 2013. PDF.

Johnston, F. ‘Legends of the Rhine’. New Monthly Belle Assemblée 10 (Feb. 1839): 94 (‘The Drachenfels’); (Apr. 1839): 190-91 (‘The Wolkenburg’); (June 1839): 305-06 (No. III. The Petersberg or Stromsberg); 11 (July 1839): 12-13 (No. IV. Rolandseck). Print.

–––. ‘Thoughts; by the Princess Constance of Salm. (Translated by Miss F. Johnston.)’. New Monthly Belle Assemblée 19 (Aug. 1843): 99; (Sept. 1843): 168; 21 (Oct. 1844): 236. Print.

–––. ‘Thoughts; by the Princess Constance, of Salm. Translated by Miss F. Johnston’. The Illustrated Belle Assemblée and Magazine of Costumes (July 1844) 84; (Oct. 1844): 139; (Nov. 1844): 153. Print.

–––. ‘A Visit to the Land Slip. By Miss F. Johnston’. New Monthly Belle Assemblée 13 (Sept. 1840): 146. Print.


Title Published
A Brief Sketch of the Siebengebirge, and Godesberg 1839

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