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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Hyde 88

Charles Burney correspondence

Letters to and from author and musician Charles Burney, including some which discuss Samuel Johnson's final days and James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.


  • 1755-1811

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Conditions Governing Use

Images linked to this finding aid 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.


.5 linear feet (1 box)

This collection consists of 12 letters by Burney, five letters received by him, and two poems. Of special importance is a portion of Burney's notes on Samuel Johnson sent to James Boswell, item (2), which were used in Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D. The collection also includes letters to Fanny Burney, item (3); and Samuel Johnson, item (8). Many of the letters discuss Samuel Johnson, including two that describe his final days in detail, items (10) and (12). One letter originally thought to have been written by Burney, item (13), has upon scholarly assessment been attributed to his son, Charles Burnley (1757-1817).

Biographical / Historical

Charles Burney (1726-1814) established a reputation as an organist and composer before moving to London in 1760. There he became a central figure in the circle gathered around author Samuel Johnson. Burney published numerous works of music scholarship, most notably his four-volume A General History of Music (1776-1789). Eight of his children survived to adulthood, including novelist Frances d'Arblay, generally known as Fanny Burney (1752-1840); Susanna Elizabeth Phillips, generally known as Susanna Burney (1755-1800); and Charles Burney (1757-1817).

Physical Location

b (shelved with MS Hyde 89)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2003JM-58 (part). Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004.

Related Materials

Several related items are also part of the Hyde Collection, including five letters from Samuel Johnson in MS Hyde 1, items (14) and (126); four letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi in MS Hyde 3, item (13); six letters to and from various parties in MS Hyde 57, pages 12 to 17 and 22; a letter to George Henry Glasse in MS Hyde 61, item (7.14); two letters to Thomas Cadell in MS Hyde 69, item (10); a letter from Bennet Langton in MS Hyde 77; and a letter from Hester Lynch Piozzi in MS Eng 1477, item (1).

Alvaro Ribeiro, ed., The Letters of Dr Charles Burney, Volume 1: 1751-1784 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991)

Processing Information

Processed by: Rick Stattler
Link to catalog
Burney, Charles, 1726-1814. Charles Burney correspondence, 1755-1811: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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