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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Hyde 75

Johnsonian Miscellanies, extra-illustrated


Printed books with hundreds of inserted manuscripts and prints relating to the text, compiled and bound by collector Robert Borthwick Adam.


  • Creation: 1538-1900
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1738-1866

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


2 linear feet (9 volumes)

The set includes prints and manuscripts for many of the people and places mentioned in Hill's Johnsonian Miscellanies, including individuals mentioned only in footnotes or as historical figures, who may have only a tangential relation to Samuel Johnson.

The set also includes letters by John Burgoyne; Wiliam Cobbett; Thomas De Quincey; Edward VII, King of Great Britain; Thomas Gainsborough; David Garrick; W. E. (William Ewart) Gladstone; Charles George Gordon; Thomas Jefferson; Pietro Metastasio; and many others. Also of note are original pencil sketches credited to Henry William Bunbury, item (7. 269. 2); and Ozias Humphry, item (7. 297. 4).


The Adams acquired prints and manuscripts to illustrate places and individuals mentioned in the text of Hill's book. The names are underlined in red ink in Hill's text, and the corresponding items are mounted on facing pages (preceding odd-numbered pages and following even-numbered pages). The inventory is arranged as items appear in the volumes.

The first digit of each item number refers to the volume as bound by Adam, and the second digit refers to the page number in the published text. The third digit, where necessary, refers to the sheet number of the insertion in cases where more than one item is inserted for a page. Example: (3. 270. 6) indicates that the item is in Vol. 3 of Adam's 9-volume set. Within that volume, it appears facing page 270, and starts on the sixth inserted sheet facing that page. It follows immediately after (3. 370. 4) because that item is mounted on two sheets.

Appearing after Hill's index, volume 9, pages 521-606, is a printed master index of inserted material. This was apparently compiled by Adam, and printed using a similar typeface and paper size as Hill's book. The index has separate sections for portraits; autographs; views; and miscellaneous illustrations.

Physical Location



This set was compiled by collector Robert Borthwick Adam (1833-1904) of Buffalo, N.Y., in the years following the book's publication in 1897. It was inherited in 1904 by his nephew and adopted son R.B. (Robert Borthwick) Adam (1863-1940), who may have expanded it into its present form, and commissioned the present bindings from the Club Bindery. Bookplates show that in 1910, R.B. Adam presented the set to his wife Lena Stevens Adam (d. 1940). The set was purchased from the Adam estate by Donald Frizell Hyde and Mary Hyde in 1948.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2003JM-75. Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004.

Existence and Location of Copies

Available on microfilm.

Separated Materials

Between 1948 and 2003, the Hydes removed many items from these volumes for exhibition, conservation, or reproduction. When possible, these removals have been listed as "REMOVED" after their appropriate page number, with a citation showing their present location. Most of the known removals were distributed through the unbound portions of the Hyde collections, which were bequeathed to the Houghton Library in 2003 along with these volumes. Only one removal has been noted without a tracking reference: item (9. 431. 1), which was given to another collector by Mary Hyde Eccles.


  • Adam, R.B. Catalogue of the Johnsonian Collection of R.B. Adam (Buffalo, N.Y.: privately printed, 1921).
  • Eccles, Mary Hyde. A Miscellany of her Essays and Addresses (New York: Grolier Club, 2002).

Processing Information

Processed by: Rick Stattler and Marcia Levinson

A full inventory spreadsheet was compiled by Marcia Levinson while the set was property of Mary Hyde Eccles. This spreadsheet was expanded and developed into the present guide in 2005.

Hill, George Birkbeck Norman, 1835-1903. Johnsonian Miscellanies, extra-illustrated, 1538-1900: 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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