Boswell's Life of Johnson : including Boswell's Journal of a tour to the Hebrides and Johnson's Diary of a journey into North Wales, edited by George Birkbeck Hill, extra-illustrated
- Majority of material found within 1724-1874
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Extent7.7 linear feet (31 volumes)
Perhaps the most significant item in the collection is James Boswell's eleven-page Remarks on the Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, item (2. 4. 310), apparently written for Samuel Johnson shortly after the book's publication. In dozens of detailed notes, Boswell offers suggestions on points of fact and interpretation, and praise for passages that he thought particularly strong.
The one author most heavily represented in manuscript form is George Birkbeck Norman Hill. The set includes the draft preface for his edition of The Life of Samuel Johnson, item (1. 1. xxviii); drafts of many of his footnotes, items (1. 2. 77-95) and (3. 1. 1-31); his draft prospectus for the work, item (6. 1. vi. 11); a draft mansucript of his preface to Johnson's Rasselas, item (6. 1. xxviii. 2); and three of his letters, items (1. 1. vii. 1), (6. 1. vi. 2), and (6. 1. vi. 14).
The set also includes letters by John Adams; Jane Austen; Sir Joseph Banks; Otto, Fürst von Bismarck; Robert Browning; Charles X, King of France; Thomas De Quincey; Isaac Disraeli; Jonathan Edwards; David Garrick; George I, King of Great Britain; George II, King of Great Britain; Edward Gibbon; Charles George Gordon; William Hayley; James I, King of England; James II, King of England; Johannes Kepler; Sir Godfrey Kneller; Louis XV, King of France; Louis XVI, King of France; Edmond Malone; Philipp Melanchthon; Clemens Wenzel Lothar, Fürst von Metternich; John Stuart Mill; Napoleon I, Emperor of the French; Peter I, Emperor of Russia; William Pitt, Earl of Chatham; Leopold von Ranke; Laurence Sterne; Alfred Tennyson, Baron Tennyson; Noah Webster; William Wordsworth; Sir Christopher Wren; Arthur Young; and many others.
The first digit of each item number refers to the volume as published in Hill's 6-volume set. The second digit refers to the sub-volume as bound by Adam, who expanded Hill's 6 volumes into 31. The third digit refers to the page number in the published text. The fourth digit, where necessary, refers to the sheet number of the insertion in cases where more than one item is inserted for a page. Example: (2. 3. 123. 3) indicates that the item is in volume 2, sub-volume 3. Within that volume, it appears facing page 123, and starts on the third inserted sheet facing that page. It follows immediately after (2. 3. 123. 1) because that item is mounted on two sheets.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Existence and Location of Copies
- 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).
- Redford, Bruce, ed., The Letters of Samuel Johnson (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992). Cited as "Hyde Edition."
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.
- Boswell, James, 1740-1795. Boswell's Life of Johnson : including Boswell's Journal of a tour to the Hebrides and Johnson's Diary of a journey into North Wales, edited by George Birkbeck Hill, extra-illustrated,1464-1897: Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
- EAD ID
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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