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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Hyde 105

Donald & Mary Hyde collection of realia related to Samuel Johnson

Miscellaneous objects related to Samuel Johnson and his circle.


  • circa 1748-1957

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research.


4 linear feet (26 objects)

Consists of objects collected by Donald Hyde and Mary Hyde Eccles related to Samuel Johnson and members of his circle, such as James Boswell, David Garrick, Hester Piozzi, and Alexander Pope. Items include the following: silverware; porcelain; drawings and other artwork; copper coins; objects of tin, bronze, leather, and wood. A few were produced during Johnson's lifetime, but the majority date from the late 18th and 19th centuries; some 20th-century pieces are represented as well.

Biographical / Historical

Mary Hyde Eccles (1912-2003) was one of the world's leading collectors of books and manuscripts from the 1940s through her death in 2003. She was also a distinguished literary scholar, and an important benefactor of numerous libraries and cultural institutions. She was born as Mary Morley Crapo in 1912. Her early years were spent in and around Detroit, Michigan. She received her B.A. from Vassar College in 1934, and her Ph.D. in English from Columbia in 1947. Mary Morley Crapo married lawyer Donald Frizell Hyde (1909-1966) in 1939. In 1943, they purchased Four Oaks Farm, a large estate in Somerville, New Jersey. Soon after their marriage, the Hydes began collecting books and manuscripts relating to Samuel Johnson and his circle, and in 1948, they acquired the great R.B. Adam collection, which established them as the foremost Johnson collectors in the world. The Hydes also began collecting Japanese prints and illustrated books in 1960, and assembled an important collection of Oscar Wilde material. Mary Hyde published two important monographs on Johnson's circle: The Impossible Friendship: Boswell and Mrs. Thrale (1972) and The Thrales of Streatham Park (1977). In 1984 she married David Eccles, Viscount Eccles (1904-1999), a prominent book collector, and Great Britain's former education minister. They maintained dual residences in England and at Four Oaks Farm, and she assumed the title of Viscountess Eccles. Lord Eccles died in 1999, and Lady Eccles in 2003.


Arranged alphabetically.

Physical Location

Hyde Storage Closet; Hyde Room Outer Vestibule; Hyde Room, Case 1 and 16

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2003JM-32; 2003JM-63; 2003JM-202; 2003JM-203; 2003JM-204; 2003JM-205; 2003JM-208; 2003JM-210; 2003JM-217a; 2003JM-217b; 2003JM-216; 2003JM-218; 2003JM-220; 2003JM-221; 2003JM-222; 2003JM-224; 2003JM-225; 2003JM-226; 2003JM-227; 2003JM-228; 2003JM-229; 2003JM-237. Gift of Mary Hyde Eccles, 2004.

Processing Information

Processed by Michael Austin, 2018.
Link to catalog
Eccles, Mary Hyde. Donald & Mary Hyde collection of realia related to Samuel Johnson, circa 1750-1930 (MS Hyde 105): Guide.
Michael Austin
2018 July 8
Description rules

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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