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MS Hyde 3

Piozzi, Hester Lynch, 1741-1821. Hester Lynch Piozzi correspondence: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Hyde 3
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Piozzi, Hester Lynch, 1741-1821.
Title: Hester Lynch Piozzi correspondence,
Date(s): 1769-1820.
Quantity: 1 collection (3 boxes (1.5 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Collected letters sent and received by author Hester Lynch Thrale Piozzi.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

*2003JM-58 (part), *2003JM-59 (part). All material from *2003JM-59 unless otherwise noted. Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Rick Stattler

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Hester Lynch Piozzi Correspondence (MS Hyde 3). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

The bulk of the Piozzi correspondence is held at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester. Other Piozzi correspondence can be found at the Houghton Library, particularly the Hester Lynch Piozzi Letters to Fanny Burney, Ms Eng 1477.

Separated Materials

Other Piozzi letters in the Hyde Collection can be found in the Samuel Johnson Letters, MS Hyde 1, item (93); the James Boswell Letters, MS Hyde 2, item (34); the Hester Maria Elphinstone, Viscountess Keith Papers, MS Hyde 5, items (48-90), (96), and (101-105); the Thomas Cadell Letters, MS Hyde 69, item (24); the Sir James Fellowes Letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi, MS Hyde 70; the Leak Family Letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi, MS Hyde 71; the Lysons Family Letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi, MS Hyde 72; the Clement Mead Letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi, MS Hyde 73; and the R.B. Adam Extra-Illustrated Edition of the Letters of Samuel Johnson, MS Hyde 77. See also her literary papers in the Hester Lynch Piozzi Manuscripts, MS Hyde 35.

Biographical / Historical

Hester Lynch Salusbury was born in Wales in 1741, and in 1763 married wealthy London brewer Henry Thrale (1728-1781). Only four of their twelve children survived to adulthood: Hester Maria Elphinstone, Viscountess Keith (1764-1857); Susanna Arabella Thrale (1770-1858); Sophia Thrale Hoare (1771-1824); and Cecilia Thrale Mostyn (1777-1857). The Thrales divided their time between two London residences: at the brewery compound in Southwark, and at a larger country house at Streatham Park. After the Thrales were introduced to Samuel Johnson in 1765, Streatham Park became the center of an important coterie of literary, artistic, and political figures.
Henry Thrale died in 1781. In 1784, Hester married Gabriele Mario Piozzi (1740-1809), an Italian musician. The marriage was widely viewed as scandalous in London society, and terminated Hester's long friendship with Johnson. The Piozzis embarked on a tour of Europe for two and a half years, leaving her four daughters dispersed in England under the supervision of Henry Thrale's executors.
The Piozzis built a country house at Brynbella in Wales, which served as their primary residence from 1794 to 1809. Piozzi's young nephew John Salusbury Piozzi came to live with the Piozzis in 1798. Gabriele Mario Piozzi died in 1809, and shortly afterwards John was formally adopted as Hester's primary heir, assuming the name Sir John Salusbury Piozzi Salusbury (1793-1858). Hester spent most of her final years in Bath, England.
Hester Lynch Piozzi's publications included Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1786); Letters to and from the Late Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1788), and Retrospection, or, a Review of the Most Important and Striking Events, Characters, Situations, and their Consequences, which the Last Eighteen Hundred Years have Presented to the View of Mankind (1801).


Adam, R.B., The R.B. Adam Library Relating to Samuel Johnson and His Era (London: Oxford University Press, 1929) Balderston, Katherine C., ed., Thraliana: The Diary of Mrs. Hester Lynch Thrale- (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1942) Bloom, Edward A., and Lillian A. Bloom, eds., The Piozzi Letters: Correspondence of Hester Lynch Piozzi, 1784-1821 (Formerly Mrs. Thrale) (Newark, Del.: University of Delaware, 1989-2002)Broadley, A.M., Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Thrale (London: John Lane, 1910) Chapman, R.W., The Letters of Samuel Johnson, with Mrs. Thrale's Genuine Letters to Him (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952) Clifford, James L., Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs. Thrale) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1941) Hill, Constance, The House in St. Martin's Street, Being Chronicles of the Burney Family. London: John Lane, 1907. Hill, George Birkbeck Norman; and Lawrence Fitzroy Powell, eds., Boswell's Life of Johnson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934) Hyde, Mary, The Impossible Friendship: Boswell and Mrs. Thrale (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972) Hyde, Mary, The Thrales of Streatham Park (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1977) Ingamells, John; and John Edgcumbe, eds., The Letters of Sir Joshua Reynolds (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000) Knapp, Oswald G., ed., The Intimate Letters of Hester Piozzi and Penelope Pennington 1788-1821 (London: John Lane, 1914)Ribeiro, Alvaro, The Letters of Dr. Charles Burney (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991)


The letters are arranged alphabetically by correspondent. Letters to and from Piozzi are interfiled chronologically where both sides of the correspondence are represented.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of letters sent and received by Hester Lynch Piozzi, with a wide variety of correspondents. The letters were collected gradually by Donald and Mary Hyde on the autograph market over a long period of time, and do not constitute a complete archive. 118 different correspondents are represented, with a total of 183 letters: 116 written by Piozzi, and 67 received.
The collection includes seven letters to Samuel Johnson, item (57), including two versions of the important 1784 June 30 letter informing him of her impending marriage to Gabriele Mario Piozzi, and her final 1784 July 4 letter to Johnson, essentially terminating their long friendship. The collection includes correspondence with other key members of the Johnsonian circle: one letter from Giuseppe Baretti, item (2); five letters to James Boswell, item (10); four letters to Charles Burney, item (13); five letters to Fanny Burney, item (14); one letter from Elizabeth Montagu, item (76); and one letter from Sir Joshua Reynolds, item (95). Many of the other letters also mention Johnson.
Several other frequent correspondents are represented in the collection. Included are six letters to Reynold Davies, tutor of her adopted son John Salusbury Piozzi Salusbury, item (25); seven letters to the Rev. George Henry Glasse, item (42); and eight letters to Penelope Sophia Weston Pennington, item (92).

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