MS Hyde 57
Johnsoniana, 1712-1916: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: MS Hyde 57
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Date(s): (bulk) 1773-1836.
Quantity: 1 collection (.1 linear feet (1 volume)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Letters, anecdotes and other papers relating to lexicographer Samuel Johnson, collected
and bound in the 1930s.
2003JM-147. Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004.
Several of the letters had been part of the collection of Sir Charles Russell, and were auctioned by Sotheby's on 1929 Feb. 13. However, other items resided in separate
collections until as late as 1930 Feb. 17, when the Hoole dedication (since removed)
was auctioned individually by Sotheby's. The collection had been assembled and bound
together by an unknown owner before 1938 Apr. 12, when it was auctioned by Sotheby's,
Lot 391. It appeared in a Maggs Bros. catalog in 1939 (catalog 671, no. 466), and
again in 1944 (catalog 737, no. 947). The date of its acquisition by Donald and Mary
Hyde is unknown.
Processed by: Rick Stattler
There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.
Johnsoniana, 1712-1916 (MS Hyde 57 ). Houghton Library, Harvard University.
Several autograph Samuel Johnson items were bound with this collection in the 1930s,
but were removed from the volume by the Hydes and interfiled with their other Johnson
material. Now in the Samuel Johnson Letters, MS Hyde 1, are a letter to Elizabeth
Aston, 1767 Nov. 17, item (4); a letter to Joseph Cradock, 1783 Jan. 20, item (25);
a letter to Bennet Langton, 1784 Nov. 29, item (63); and three letters by Johnson
to Hester Lynch Piozzi, 1770 July 11, 1781 Nov. 3, and 1783 June 28, item (93). Now
in the Samuel Johnson Manuscripts, MS Hyde 50, is his dedication to John Hoole's Metastasio, item (16). These removed items explain the volume's now inaccurate spine title Dr. Johnson : Autograph Letters by and About, 1767-1916.
This folio of inlaid manuscripts was compiled during the 1930s by an unknown collector.
Almost all of the items relate at least tangentially to Samuel Johnson. The collection
includes a group of seven slips of paper, pages (2-7), bearing what appear to be original
unpublished anecdotes regarding Samuel Johnson, all in the same hand. Some are on
the verso of postal covers addressed to antiquary Richard Gough (1735-1809). Gough
may have received these anecdotes from some intimate of Johnson, or recorded them
himself on scrap paper he found at hand. No publication by Hough on Johnson is known,
and the handwriting does not appear to match Gough's. See the William Upcott Papers,
MS Eng 1178, page (97a) for a sample by Gough's hand.
Also of note are two watercolor paintings depicting Johnson at the Thrale home at
Streatham Park, pages (1) and (37). These are unsigned, but the 1938 Apr. 12 Sotheby's
catalog credits them to Clarkson Stanfield as illustrations for an 1836 work by John
Murray (not at Harvard). Much of the remainder of the collection consists of letters
which mention Johnson in passing, refer to his biographies, or quote his published
works. The items on pages (8), (18), (19), (21), and (23) came from the papers of
publisher John Nichols, and items (12-17) and (22) are letters to or from Charles
Burney. One letter is addressed to Hester Thrale (later Hester Lynch Piozzi), page
(17); she is also apparently depicted in the paintings.
- (p. 1). [Stanfield, Clarkson, 1793-1867] Samuel Johnson writing in the summer house at Streatham Park : watercolor on paper, 
Painted for Various Graphic Illustrations of the Life & Times of Samuel Johnson by John Murray.
- (p. 3). Anecdotes of Doctor Johnson, rather of the provost : manuscript, [18--?]
Concerning Samuel Johnson and his interactions during his 1773 visit to Scotland with Gilbert Laurie, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and with an unnamed hostess.
- (p. 4). Anecdotes of Doctor Johnson, unpublished : manuscript, [18--?]
Two anecdotes concerning annual visits of Samuel Johnson to Lichfield, England; and a story concerning an unnamed hostess whom Johnson offended by his manners in
- (p. 7). Anecdote of Johnson : manuscript, [18--?]
Relates a witticism uttered by Samuel Johnson at the Essex Street Club.
- (p. 8). Cork and Orrery, Mary Monckton Boyle, Countess of, 1746-1840, then Miss Monckton. Autograph letter, to Sir Joshua Reynolds, [178-?]
Invites Reynolds to her home, and requests that he extend the invitation to Samuel Johnson as well.
- (p. 8). [Nichols, John, 1745-1826?] Due to JN in Incidents of 8 vols small : autograph document, [ca. 1781?]
List of debts to a book-seller, including an entry reading pd for sewing 30 setts of 10 vols for Dr. Johnson. This may refer to Lives of the Poets by Samuel Johnson, published in ten volumes by Nichols in 1781.
- (p. 9). Allen, Ralph, 1694-1764. Autograph letter, signed, Bath [England], to Oswald Hoskyns, 1712 Oct. 25
Concerning a financial settlement.
- (p. 10). Browne, William George, 1768-1813. Autograph letter, signed, Cairo (Egypt), to an unidentified correspondent, 1793 Apr. 18.
Describes his travels in Egypt at length. Quotes Samuel Johnson in passing.
- (p. 11). Bullock, W. (William), fl. 1808-1828. Autograph letter, signed, [no place] to unidentified correspondent, [18--]
Metaphysical letter, which quotes Samuel Johnson in passing.
- (p. 12). Burney, Charles, 1726-1814. Autograph note, signed, [no place] to T. (Thomas) Cadell, [not before 1786]
Requests two copies of Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson, LL.D. by Hester Lynch Piozzi.
- (p. 13). Burney, Charles, 1726-1814. Autograph letter, signed, [no place] to son Charles Burney (1757-1817),1801 Oct. 8.
Describes sitting for sculptor Joseph Nollekens; discusses the family of George Strahan and friendship with Samuel Johnson.
- (p. 14). Burney, Charles, 1726-1814. Autograph letter, signed, [no place] to son Charles Burney (1757-1817),1801 Dec. 7.
Discusses the Fellows of the Royal Society, mentions Hester Lynch Piozzi in passing.
- (p. 15). Burney, Charles, 1726-1814. Autograph letter, signed, [no place] to son Charles Burney (1757-1817),1808 June 9.
Offers advice and hopes that Burney becomes a sober divine, and not a milk sop like your old father. Mentions the opinion of Samuel Johnson concerning Joseph Addison.
- (p. 16). Burney, Charles, 1757-1817. Autograph letter, signed, [no place] to Fanny Burney, 1817 Mar. 12.
Mentions Samuel Johnson and Hester Lynch Piozzi in passing.
- (p. 17). Burney, Charles, 1726-1814. Autograph draft letter, signed, [no place] to [Hester Lynch Piozzi] [ca. 1777 Nov. 8]
Mentions the Thrale family homes at Streatham Park and Brighthelmstone; has dictated a note to Samuel Johnson yesterday; includes a poem on Streatham Park.
A variant copy of the poem in Burney's hand at Yale University was published in Alvaro
Ribeiro, The Letters of Dr. Charles Burney, 1751-1784 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991) I, 240-241.
- (p. 18). Calder, John, 1733-1815. Autograph letter, signed, [no place] to John Nichols, 1783 May 26.
Discusses a manuscript by Zachary Pearce, Bishop of Rochester; and mentions inaccuracies noted in Lives of the Poets by Samuel Johnson.
- (p. 19). Calder, John, 1733-1815. Autograph letter, signed, Furnivall's Inn [London] to [John Nichols?] 1788 Aug 20.
Mentions plans to dine at an unidentified Dr. Johnson's; Samuel Johnson was by that
- (p. 20). Chambers, Robert, Sir, 1737-1803. Autograph letter, signed, Calcutta (India), to his father-in-law Joseph Wilton, 1776 Mar. 29.
Offers detailed instruction for distribution of his Observations on Mr. Hastings's Plan for the Administration of Justice, including lines to be blotted out on the copy designated for Samuel Johnson.
- (p. 21). Dallaway, James, 1763-1834. Autograph letter, signed, Frocester [Gloucestershire, England] to [John Nichols] 1789 Oct. 17.
Complains about the harsh review of his Letters of the Late Thomas Rundle in the Gentleman's Magazine; points out typographical errors in Lives of the Poets by Samuel Johnson.
- (p. 22). Edgeworth, Richard Lovell, 1744-1817. Autograph letter, signed, Clifton [Bristol, England] to Charles Burney (1726-1814), 1793 Jan. 22.
Praises Baviad by William Gifford; mentions the work of Samuel Johnson for Gentleman's Magazine.
- (p. 23). Fenton, Mr. (Richard), 1746-1821. Autograph letter, signed, Stourhead, Mere, Wiltshire (England), to John Nichols, 1813 Jan. 25.
Praises Nichols's Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century. Met an illegitimate grandson of printer David Henry. Recalls meeting Samuel Johnson and Anna Williams at the home of John Hoole.
- (p. 24). [Hawkesworth, John, 1715?-1773] The fond swain, a song consisting entirely of monosyllables : autograph manuscript poem, signed, [17--]
- (p. 25). [Hervé, Peter, 1779-1827] Autograph letter, [no place] to unidentified correspondent, [182-?]
Relates the history of his founding of the National Benevolent Institution in 1812, and seeks financial support for his studies as a landscape painter. Quotes
Samuel Johnson in passing.
- (p. 26). Lounsbury, Thomas Raynesford, 1838-1915. Autograph letter, signed, New Haven (Connecticut), to [?] Thacher, 1892 Jan. 9.
Returns a Samuel Johnson letter to Thacher on behalf of George Birkbeck Norman Hill.
- (p. 27). Parr, Samuel, 1747-1825. Letter, signed, Halton (England), to Henry Mackenzie, 1824 Feb. 20.
Argues for the authorship of Samuel Johnson of articles in The Adventurer.
- (p. 28). Percy, Thomas, 1729-1811, then Bishop of Dromore. Autograph letter, signed, Carlisle (England) to Samuel Hoole, 1783 Apr. 23.
Reports on the death of Percy's son at Marseilles on 1783 Apr. 2, and requests that Hoole inform Samuel Johnson and others. Also asks for an assessment of two potential household servants.
- (p. 34). Redding, Cyrus, 1785-1870. Autograph letter, signed, Hill Road, Saint John's Wood [London] to W. Watkins, 1865 Jan. 7.
Suggests that Watkins should read the Samuel Johnson biographies by James Boswell and Hester Lynch Piozzi before reading Bozzy and Piozzi.
- (p. 35). Nicoll, W. Robertson (William Robertson), Sir, 1851-1923. Autograph letter, signed, Hampstead, London, to Friar Cooper, 1916 June 21.
Agrees that [Edward Morgan?] Forster may have paraphrased Samuel Johnson.
- (p. 37). [Stanfield, Clarkson, 1793-1867] Samuel Johnson conversing with Mrs. Thrale on the lawn of Streatham Park : watercolor on paper, 
Painted for Various Graphic Illustrations of the Life & Times of Samuel Johnson by John Murray.