Used by permission from the Arizona Historical Society
“Of all the outstanding women I have been privileged to know, the range of Ann-Eve’s interests exceeded those of any three other women combined.” — Jane Ivancovich, Tucson
Of all the projects and organizations to which Ann-Eve Mansfeld Johnson devoted herself, she is best remembered for her efforts on behalf of children and her interest in preserving and restoring historical sites. A friend of Ann-Eve’s, Jane Ivancovich, expresses the impression Ann-Eve made on fellow volunteers:
“My affection for her was compounded [by] admiration, respect, and delight in her limitless energy, enthusiasm, and efficiency.”
Ann-Eve’s paternal grandfather, Jacob S. Mansfeld, wrote Tucson’s first City Charter. His son, Samuel J. Mansfeld, married Vivian Chauncy Ainsworth of New York, and Ann-Eve was born in Tucson on December 18, 1908. Ann-Eve became interested in historic preservation early in life; at a time when few women pursued higher education, she studied archaeology at the University of Arizona, where she was elected secretary of the Student Body, President of Alpha Phi sorority, and member of Mortar Board honorary society. She received her B.A. in 1930.
In 1932, Ann-Eve married fellow student Emery Crawford Johnson. Together they had two children, JannaNeen and Peter. The family traveled extensively, visiting national parks and historic monuments, and later journeying to Europe and the Middle East.
As State Chairman of the Arizona Legislature Council in the 1950s, Ann-Eve lobbied to establish the Arizona Children’s Colony for retarded children. She became the first chairman of the Colony’s board of directors. Today the Colony is known as the Arizona Training Program, and it helps retarded, autistic, epileptic, and cerebral palsied children in Tucson, Coolidge, and Phoenix. Ann-Eve also served Arizona’s youth as president of the Junior League of Tucson, president of the Planned Parenthood Clinic of Tucson, cofounder of the Family Service Agency, member of the Pima County Welfare Board, and as a Sunday school teacher at Saint Phillip’s in the Hills parish in Tucson. In 1950, she was appointed the Arizona State Chairman of the White House Conference on Youth and Children.
In the 1950s, Ann-Eve Johnson became one of the early leaders of Arizona’s preservation movement. As chairman of the first Historical Sites Committee of the Arizona Pioneers’ Historical Society, she was directly responsible for saving several of Tucson’s historic buildings, including Old Fort Lowell and the El Adobe Patio Buildings. She was co-chairman of the Committee to Restore Old Spanish Street Names, and she was a founding member of the Tucson Heritage Foundation, which raises money to preserve historic homes such as the John C. Fremont House. She founded the University of Arizona Friends of the Library, and served as the president. In 1974, she received the Arizona State Historical Society’s Al Merito Award for her outstanding contributions to education and preservation in Arizona.
Ann-Eve was also interested in state and national politics. During the Eisenhower administration, she served as Republican National Committeewoman for Arizona, and she headed the women’s division of the Goldwater for President national campaign. In 1976, Ann-Eve was chosen Dona de la Casa, the outstanding woman in history in Tucson. In 1979, the Tucson Advertising Club named her Woman of the Year. During her final years Ann-Eve remained dedicated to Arizona children, researching a book on Christian symbolism in the fine arts.
Ann-Eve Mansfeld Johnson died March 12, 1981 in Tucson at the age of 72.