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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Eng 1386

James Boswell papers


Letters to various correspondents and publishing agreements of English writer James Boswell, as well as autograph manuscript fragment of Life of Samuel Johnson.


  • 1756-1799

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Conditions Governing Use

Images linked to the finding aid describing this collection are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.


1.25 linear feet (13 volumes)

Includes letters written by Boswell and Samuel Johnson to various correspondents, autograph manuscript fragment of Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, publication agreements for Johnson's Lives of the poets and other works, autograph manuscript poem by Hester Lynch (Salusbury) Thrale Piozzi, and one silked letter by Piozzi to Reynold Davies.

Biographical / Historical

Boswell was an English writer, as well as friend and biographer of Samuel Johnson.


Organized into the following series:

  1. Volumes I-III
  2. Volume IV
  3. Volume V
  4. Volume VI
  5. Volume VII
  6. Volume VIII
  7. Volumes X-XII
  8. Volume XIII

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

*78M-48. Gift of Arthur A. Houghton, Jr., Wye Plantation, Queenstown, Maryland 21658; received: 1987 Dec. 26.

Boswell, James, 1740-1795. James Boswell papers: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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