Born in Jacksonville, Vermont, Charlotte May Johnson prepared for college at a seminary in Massachusetts. After graduating from Middlebury in 1901, she taught Science in Massachusetts until 1904 when she traveled to Shanghai, China for missionary work. There, she became principal of the Bridgman Memorial School and Missionary and taught for eight years. Despite her limited means as a missionary, she demonstrated her dedication to Middlebury by contributing $3 of her first paycheck in China to President John Martin Thomas’s fund for new buildings and faculty members, and she advocated for a Chinese student who later enrolled at Middlebury with her help. Upon her return to the US, she gave lectures on China and later settled as a teacher in Denver, Colorado.