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COLLECTION Identifier: 2003J-JBL43

The life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. : including a journal of a tour to the Hebrides, extra-illustrated


Printed books with hundreds of inserted manuscripts and prints relating to the text, compiled by collector William Upcott.


  • 1711-1834

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


1.3 linear feet (10 volumes)

The set includes prints and manuscripts for many of the people and places mentioned in John Wilson Croker's 1831 edition of Boswell's Life of Johnson, including individuals mentioned only in footnotes or as historical figures, who may have only a tangential relation to Samuel Johnson.

The set includes signed notes or documents by Elizabeth Robinson Montagu; Hannah More; William Pitt; Samuel Richardson; Richard Savage; and many others. At least 27 of the items appear to have come from the archive of publisher Thomas Cadell, and at least 8 from the archive of publisher J. (John) Nourse.


Upcott acquired prints and manuscripts to illustrate places and individuals mentioned in the text of the book. Items are mounted on pages facing the appropriate text (preceding odd-numbered pages and following even-numbered pages). The inventory is arranged as items appear in the volumes.

Only the manuscripts and original art in this set are described in the guide. Many hundreds of engravings, clippings and facsimile manuscripts are not described here.

The first digit of each item number refers to the volume as published in 1835. The second digit refers to the sub-volume as bound by Upcott, who expanded the five volumes into ten. The third digit refers to the page number in the published text.

Physical Location



This set was compiled by collector William Upcott (1779-1845) between 1835 and 1845. The volumes also bear the later bookplates of Mrs. James Dick and Edward James Martin, and an inscription reading "This copy was bought from the library of Mr. K. MacDonald, Armathwaite, Pollokshield."

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2003J-JBL43. Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004.

Separated Materials

Mary Hyde Eccles removed at least four 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. Two of the known removals are presently at the Houghton Library. At least two items, (1. 1. xliv) and (4. 2. 299), were given to other collectors by Mary Hyde Eccles.

Processing Information

Processed by: Rick Stattler

Boswell, James, 1740-1795. The life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. : including a journal of a tour to the Hebrides, extra-illustrated, 1711-1834: 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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