MS Hyde 51
Boswell, James, 1740-1795. James Boswell manuscripts: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Location: b (shelved with bMS Hyde 50), Hyde Case 9
Call No.: MS Hyde 51
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Boswell, James, 1740-1795.
Title: James Boswell manuscripts,
Quantity: 1 collection (.5 box and 17 volumes (2 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Manuscripts and documents of biographer James Boswell, including drafts and proofs
of his literary works, diary entries, and other papers.
*2003JM-55, *2003JM-108, *2003JM-130-144(f). All material from *2003JM-55 unless otherwise noted. Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004.
Processed by: Rick Stattler
There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
James Boswell Manuscripts (MS Hyde 51). Houghton Library, Harvard University.
The bulk of Boswell's manuscripts are at Yale University. According to the Index to English Literary Manuscripts, the Hyde Collection is the only other important one of Boswell MSS outside of Yale. Several of the manuscripts came from the same source as the Yale
collection, Col. Ralph Heyward Isham (1890-1955), who had purchased them from Lady Talbot de Malahide.
Other Boswell manuscript material in the Hyde Collection includes: Boswell's annotations
on many of the items in the Samuel Johnson Letters, MS Hyde 1, particularly items
(9), (13), (26), (40), (63), (87), (92), and (97); a collection of James Boswell Letters,
MS Hyde 2; a transcript of a Boswell manuscript in the R.B. Adam Extra-Illustrated
Edition of the Life of Samuel Johnson, MS Hyde 9, Volume II, Part 4, page 310; annotations and transcriptions in the Samuel
Johnson Manuscripts, MS Hyde 50, items (4), (59), (67), (68), (69), and (70); and
two items annotated by Boswell in the Boswell Family Papers, MS Hyde 52, items (11)
and (12). Boswell also annotated several printed works that were cited from the Hyde
Collection in IELM, BoJ 107, 109, 147, 152, 153, and 158.
James Boswell (1740-1795) was the author of one of the most influential biographies
in the English language, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. He also wrote two successful travel books: An Account of Corsica, and The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides. In 1782, he succeeded his father as Laird of Auchinleck in Scotland. He worked intermittently
as a lawyer, and served as Recorder of Carlisle (England) from 1788 to 1790.
The main reference used is Margaret M. Smith, et al., Index of English Literary Manuscripts, Volume III, Part 1 (London: Mansell, 1986), pp. 39-58 (cited as IELM). See also George
Birkbeck Norman Hill and Lawrence Fitzroy Powell, eds., Boswell's Life of Johnson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934).
This collection consists of items in Boswell's hand, other than his letters (cataloged
separately as MS Hyde 2). Highlights include notes, drafts, and proofs of The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (including a complete set of second page proofs); Boswell's response to Hester Lynch
Piozzi's published comments on his Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides; a detailed book of visitors kept by Boswell at Auchinleck from 1782 to 1795; the
manuscript and page proofs of A letter to the people of Scotland on the alarming attempt to infringe the articles
of the Union; a volume of collected anecdotes and aphorisms titled Boswelliana; and three diary fragments.
- (1). As to Dr. Johnson's remaining papers : autograph manuscript packaging, undated. 1s. in 1 folder.
A sheet of paper that Boswell apparently used to wrap his notes relating to Samuel
Johnson's manuscript papers.
On the verso of an advertising circular for C. Castle, grocer of Welbeck Street, Cavendish Square, London.
- (3). Book of company at Auchinleck since the succession of James Boswell Esq. : autograph manuscript, 1782-1795. 1 v. (34 leaves), in case.Hyde Case 9
Boswell's chronological record of visitors at his estate in Auchinleck (Scotland). Arranged chronologically in table form, giving date, names of dinner guests, names
of guests for the night, and (sporadically) the number of bottles consumed of various
Also includes occasional other memoranda, mostly explaining his absences from Auchinleck
due to travel.
In a red morocco slipcase.
Published in facsimile as James Boswell's Book of Company at Auchinleck, 1782-1795, Mary Hyde Eccles and Gordon Turnbull, eds. (Somerville, N.J.: Viscountess Eccles,
- (7). "Charta Walteri Secundi confirmatoria facta monachis de Passelet [Paisley] de ecclesys
de Auchinleck" : manuscript documents, 1239-1405 and undated. 4s. in 1 folder.
A series of three charters, in Latin, regarding the Boswell family claim to Auchinleck (Scotland), Mauchline (Scotland), and nearby areas.
Signed manuscript transcription by Alexander Boswell, Lord Auchinleck (1706-1782), father of James Boswell. Witnessed by Thomas Ruddiman.
Includes annotation by James Boswell.
- (9). Diary : autograph manuscript, 1783 [between Apr. 6 and Apr. 14] 2s. in 1 folder.
A diary page, recording the conversation of Samuel Johnson concerning Hester Lynch Piozzi's departure for Bath (England). Also includes an unrelated (and much earlier) conversation by Bennet Langton and David Garrick.
With typescript transcript.
Piozzi's departure for Bath is discussed in Thraliana: The Diary of Mrs. Hester Lynch Thrale, Katherine C. Balderston, ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1942) 1, 561. IELM, BoJ 139.
- (10). Diary : autograph manuscript, 1785 Feb. 6. 2s. in 1 folder.
A diary page, recording a dream concerning Samuel Johnson.
With typescript transcript.
Reproduced in The Letters of Samuel Johnson: The Hyde Edition, Bruce Redford, ed. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University, 1994) V, ii. Published
in Boswell: The Applause of the Jury, 1782-1785, Irma S. Lustig and Frederick A. Pottle, eds. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981) 277. IELM,
- (11). Diary : autograph manuscript,  Sept 11 to Sept. 25. 1s. in 1 folder.
A diary page, containing brief memorandum entries.
Published in Boswell: The Great Biographer, Marlies K. Danzinger and Frank Brady, eds. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989) 109. IELM,
- (12). Grant to Miss Veronica Boswell : autograph document, signed, London, 1795 Mar. 3. 1s., in case.Hyde Case 9, folio
Grant of £500 to Boswell's daughter Veronica Boswell (1773-1795) in honor of her infantile attention to my illustrious friend,Samuel Johnson.
Witnessed at the Literary Club, London, by Francis Godolphin Osborne, Duke of Leeds; George Macartney, Earl Macartney; Henry Temple, Viscount Palmerston; and William Scott, Baron Stowell.
In a red quarter-morocco tray case.
- (13). Johnson, Samuel, 1709-1784. A dictionary of the English language : annotated fragment, undated. 1s., in case.Hyde Case 9
Small scrap of a page from the 1765 third edition of the Dictionary, giving the definition
With autograph annotation by Boswell, explaining that the fragment had been found
by Matthew Henderson, Esq. (d. 1788) in a house in Edinburgh, and presented to Boswell.
In a red quarter-morocco slipcase.
IELM, BoJ 150.
- (14). A letter to the people of Scotland on the alarming attempt to infringe the articles
of the Union : autograph manuscript, signed,  2 v. in 1 box (30s., 24s.)Hyde Case 9, folio
Incomplete draft of printer's copy, reorganized in print order, with modern research
Volume 1: pages numbered 1, 2, 7-17, 19-30, 3-4 with unnumbered insertions after pages
2, 22, 23. Volume 2: pages numbered 5-6, 31-38, 40-43, 45, unnumbered insertion after
page 36, two pages of insertions for page 3, and 12 pages on unnumbered pages near
Pages are loosely inserted into red quarter-morocco covers.
IELM, BoJ 114.
- (15). "A letter to the people of Scotland on the alarming attempt to infringe the articles
of the Union" : annotated page proofs,  2s. in 1 folder.
Pages 20, 21, and 67 only, with Boswell's autograph revisions.
IELM, BoJ 115.
- (16). A letter to the people of Scotland on the alarming attempt to infringe the articles
of the Union : autograph manuscript inscriptions,  1s. in 1 folder.
Autograph draft of Boswell's inscriptions for copies presented to John Wilkes and William Bosville.
- (18). A letter to the people of Scotland on the alarming attempt to infringe the articles
of the Union : autograph manuscript packaging, undated. 1s. in 1 folder.
A sheet of paper Boswell used to wrap notes for his Letter to the People of Scotland.
- (20). The life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. : autograph manuscript draft, 1791. 1s., in case.Hyde Case 9, folio
Single page of draft, p. 385. With notes on verso.
In a red morocco tray case.
Corresponds to Hill-Powell II, 226-228. IELM, BoJ 117.
- (21). The life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. : autograph manuscript draft, 1791. 1s., in case.Hyde Case 9
Single page of draft, p. 533, mostly concerning a 1776 meeting in Lichfield with Johnson's former schoolfellow Harry Jackson (d. 1777).
In a red quarter-morocco slipcase.
Corresponds to Hill-Powell II, 462-463. IELM, BoJ 122.
- (22). The life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. : page proofs, 1791. 52 leaves, in case.Hyde Case 9
Incomplete set of page proofs, pp. i-xii, 1-56, 81-224.
Autograph revisions in Boswell's hand. Also revised by Edmond Malone and possibly others.
In a red quarter-morocco tray case, along with a fragment of an earlier binding.
IELM, BoJ 128.
- (23). The life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. : page proofs, 1791. 1s., in case.Hyde Case 9
Single sheet of page proofs, pp. 301  and 300-302.
Autograph revisions in Boswell's hand, including his deletion of a passage recording
Samuel Johnson's views on marital infidelity.
In a brown cloth slipcase.
Corresponds to Hill-Powell III, 401-407, which gives the deleted passage in a note
on page 406. IELM, BoJ 130.
- (24). The life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. : page proofs, 1791. 2 v. (xii,  516 p.; 588 p.)Hyde Case 9
Complete set of second page proofs, with autograph revisions in Boswell's hand, and
other corrections in the hand of Edmond Malone.
Small drawing of a face in profile, Volume II, page 552.
Bound in leather with blue-green marbled covers after 1808; reinforcing the rear cover
of the second volume is a prospectus for the 1808 edition of the Genuine Works of William Hogarth, with commentary by John Nichols and George Steevens.
Bearing 1910 gift tags to Lena Stevens Adam.
IELM, BoJ 131.
- (26). The life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. : autograph notes,  1s. in 1 folder.
Boswell's list of omissions in his index to the Life of Johnson.
IELM, BoJ 134.
- (27). Lists of Samuel Johnson letters : autograph manuscript packaging, [ca. 1791] 5s. in 1 folder.
Lists of Samuel Johnson letters that Boswell had collected, arranged by correspondent, and apparently used
by Boswell as packaging. Lists twenty letters to Richard Brocklesby, twelve letters to Lucy Porter, and fourteen letters to Sir Joshua Reynolds.
One wrapper is written on the verso of an undated broadside titled Facts and observations in support of the plan for making a canal from Bishops Stortford,
in Hertfordshire, to the Brandon River in Norfolk, circa 1790.
- (28). Memorandum : autograph manuscript, [not before 1785] 1s. in 1 folder.
Boswell's memoranda on verso of a business card, beginning Antonietti, Ducis Corsorum...
The business card was printed by Jessington Rozea for Daniel Rosier, wine and brandy merchant of 29 Great Marlborough Street, London, successor to the late Richard Tedstone. Tedstone was still in business at that location as late as 1785.
- (29). Memorandum for Wednesday : autograph manuscript, undated. 1s. in 1 folder.
Boswell's task list for an unspecified Wednesday, including attendance at a public
execution; obtaining a loan; and arranging Samuel Johnson's letters. On the verso is Boswell's note regarding a writing job that Samuel Johnson declined in 1760, a story which Boswell did not use in his Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.
IELM, BoJ 142.
- (31). "The original ballad of Chevy Chace" : manuscript transcript, undated. 1s. in 1 folder.
Transcript of the poem Ballad of Chevy Chase in the hand of James Boswell.
Transcribed from the original then in the possession of Elizabeth Seymour Percy, Duchess of Northumberland, probably transcribed circa 1762-1763 when Boswell was a regular visitor at her home.
Boswell's transcript is very similar to the version published in 1765 by Thomas Percy
in Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, although Percy cites a manuscript at the Bodleian Library as his source.
IELM, BoJ 7.
- (32). Presentation copy inscription to James Boswell Jr. : autograph manuscript, undated. 1s. in 1 folder.
Boswell's inscription to his son James Boswell (1778-1822), removed from an unknown book.
- (33). Proposals for publishing a new and improved edition of Shakspeare illustrated by Charlotte
Lennox : printed broadside, [1793?] 1s., in case.Hyde Case 9
Prospectus for a new edition of Shakespeare Illustrated by Charlotte Lennox, which was apparently never published.
Signed autograph annotation by Boswell: Written by me, James Boswell. One other line of annotation in an unknown hand.
In a red quarter-morocco cover.
- (34). "The publications and fugitive pieces of Mr. Samuel Johnson" : manuscript transcript, 1772 Sept. 1s. in 1 folder.
Transcript in an unknown hand, of a list of the writings of Samuel Johnson prepared by Thomas Percy and Robert Levet with Johnson's assistance. Annotated by Boswell and David Garrick, with a long autograph note signed by Boswell.
- (35). Reply to Mrs. Piozzi : manuscript transcript, 1786 Apr. 18. 2s., in case.Hyde Case 9
Boswell's response to remarks made by Hester Lynch Piozzi concerning Elizabeth Robinson Montagu in a postscript to her Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson.
The original draft by Boswell was enclosed in his letter to Edmond Malone dated 1786 Apr. 3, now in the James Boswell Letters, MS Hyde 2, item (26).
The present item is a transcript in the hand of John Courtenay of a revision completed with the assistance of Malone and Courtenay, with the first
sheet written in the margins of Piozzi's printed postscript.
In a red quarter-morocco tray case.
Published in the third edition of Boswell's The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (London: Henry Baldwin, 1786) 247-248; and in several periodicals. Discussed in Mary
Hyde, The Impossible Friendship (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1972) 107-113. IELM, BoJ 113.
- (36). Two stalks of lilly of the valley which my dear wife had in her hand the day before
she died : autograph manuscript packaging, [1789 June] 1s. in 1 folder.
A sheet of paper Boswell used to wrap flowers belonging to his wife Margaret Montgomerie Boswell. The flowers are no longer extant.