"Coming up through the ranks, he has run the gamut from student in - to Director of - the Speech Clinic at the University of Iowa."
- Journal of Speech Disorders, March 1947
Wendell Johnson, like his peer Charles Van Riper, was a life-long stutterer. Born in 1906 in Roxbury, Kansas, Johnson received his B.A. in 1928, M.A. in 1929 and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Speech Pathology in 1931 all from the University of Iowa. Mentored by Dr. Lee E. Travis at the University, Johnson had a long association with the University working his way up through the academic ranks. Initially a research assistant to Dr. Travis for many years in the speech clinic, he became an assistant, associate and eventually full professor in 1943. In that same year he assumed directorship of the speech clinic at Iowa. Following in the foot- steps of his mentor, he promoted continuing research projects in speech correction which included eighty-five M.A. and eleven Ph.D. projects.
His numerous publications about stuttering gained him national and international recognition. His first book published in 1930, Because I Stutter, gave the reader a first- hand account of what life was like with the disorder. Future publications included, Influence of Stuttering on the Personality, Clinical Manual for Stutterers, Language and Speech Hygiene, People in Quandaries plus numerous articles and book reviews.
Johnson’s involvement with ASHA spanned his entire professional career. He served as the second editor of the Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders from 1943-1948, was a member of the Executive Council from 1945-1946, was Chair of the Publications Board from 1959-1962, and was elected ASHA President in 1950. He was the force behind the creation of the Speech Correction Research Foundation in 1946 later known as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation. He served as the Foundation’s Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1946-1960. He was awarded the Honors of the Association in 1946.
In addition to his involvement with ASHA, Johnson had many other professional affiliations. Like Mack Steer and Herbert Koepp-Baker, he was a consultant to several Federal agencies including the Veterans Administration, the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness and the U.S. Office of Education. He was a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology of the American Board of Examiners in Professional Psychology and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He served as President of the International Society for General Semantics from 1945-1947 and was a member of the International Board of Editors of the Rehabilitation section of the Excerpta Medica from 1958 until his untimely death in 1965.