Skip to Main Content

Anniv-Johnston Library

Leah Carter Johnston

Copy of Ink drawing of Leah Carter Johnston

Young Pegasus Poetry Competition

For more than 90 years, the San Antonio Public Library has celebrated the talents of the city’s young writers with the Young Pegasus Poetry Competition, founded by Johnston Branch Library's namesake, Leah Carter Johnston, in 1927. 

Open to poets 18 and under, the Young Pegasus Poetry Competition invites poets to submit their work, which is then reviewed by a panel of independent judges. The judges do not select a set number of winners. Instead, any poem submitted that is deemed worthy of publication is printed in the annual Young Pegasus Anthology.

Leah Carter Johnston: San Antonio Public Librarian in charge of work with Children, 1922-1955.

Born: October 19, 1886

Married: November 27, 1909

Died: December 23, 1945.

Johnston Branch Library is dedicated to the memory of Leah Carter Johnston, San Antonio Public Library’s first Children’s Librarian. Mrs. Johnston established the Children’s Department in 1922, and she served as Children’s Librarian until 1955. In 1927, she created the first children’s poetry competition in the United States. Known as "Young Pegasus," this contest continues to inspire and encourage children to use words to express their dreams and make books of their own. Mrs. Johnston was also an author and a reviewer of children’s books for Horn Book Magazine and the Texas Library Journal. In 1947, she published a children’s local history, San Antonio- St. Anthony's Town, which remains a part of the library collection today. After retirement from the library system, Mrs. Johnston and 12 friends organized the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library in 1964.

Leah Johnston's obituary from the SA Express on 12-24-1975

Leah Carter Johnston reading to kids -- San Antonio Light, June 22, 1950

Ariel View of Johnston

Leah Johnston's obituary from SA Light on 12-24-1975

Jay Ford Johnston admires certificate received at library dedication

Valley-Hi library is dedicated from San Antonio Light - 1981

Acknowledgments for funding and land donation

Editorial from the SA Express on November 2, 1955

Dedication Ceremonies - 1981

Dedication Ceremonies Program

30th Anniversary - 2011

A Tribute to Leah Johnston

Johnston during February 2021 freeze