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MS Hyde 74

Croker, John Wilson, 1780-1857. Johnsoniana; or, Supplement to Boswell: being anecdotes and sayings of Dr. Johnson, extra-illustrated: Guide.

Houghton Library


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: f
Call No.: MS Hyde 74
Repository: Houghton Library
Title: Johnsoniana; or, Supplement to Boswell: being anecdotes and sayings of Dr. Johnson, extra-illustrated
Date(s): 1668-1866
Date(s): 1738-1836
Quantity: 1.1 linear feet (6 volumes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Printed books with hundreds of inserted prints relating to the text, compiled and bound by collector Robert Borthwick Adam.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2003JM-74. Bequest of Mary Hyde Eccles, Four Oaks Farm, Somerville, New Jersey; received: 2004.


This set was compiled by collector Robert Borthwick Adam (1833-1904) of Buffalo, N.Y. circa 1890-1900. It was inherited in 1904 by his nephew and adopted son R.B. (Robert Borthwick) Adam (1863-1940), who may have expanded it into its present form, and commissioned the present bindings from the Club Bindery. Bookplates show that in 1910, R.B. Adam presented the set to his wife Lena Stevens Adam (d. 1940). The set was purchased from the Adam estate by Donald Frizell Hyde and Mary Hyde in 1948.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Rick Stattler and Marcia Levinson
A full inventory spreadsheet was compiled by Marcia Levinson while the set was the property of Mary Hyde Eccles. This spreadsheet was expanded and developed into the present guide in 2005.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Johnsoniana; or, Supplement to Boswell: Being Anecdotes and Sayings of Dr. Johnson, Extra-illustrated, 1668-1866 (MS Hyde 74). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Separated Materials

Two items, items (3. 210) and (5. 401. 2), were removed from the volume by Lady Eccles, and can now be found elsewhere in the Hyde Collection.


The Adams acquired prints to illustrate places and individuals mentioned in the text of Croker's book. The names are underlined in red ink in Croker's text, and the corresponding items are mounted on facing pages (preceding odd-numbered pages and following even-numbered pages). The inventory is arranged as items appear in the volumes. The first digit of each item number refers to the volume as bound by Adam, and the second digit refers to the page number in the published text. The third digit, where necessary, refers to the sheet number of the insertion in cases where more than one item is inserted for a page. Example: (6. 530. 6) indicates that the item is in Vol. 6 of Adam's 6-volume set. Within that volume, it appears facing page 530, and starts on the sixth inserted sheet facing that page. It follows immediately after (6. 530. 4) because that item is mounted on two sheets. Appearing after Croker's table of contents and index, volume 1, pages xix-lii, is a printed master index of inserted material. This was apparently compiled by Adam. The index has separate sections for portraits; views; and illustrations.

Scope and Contents

The set includes prints for many of the people and places mentioned in Croker's Johnsoniana, including individuals mentioned only in footnotes or as historical figures, who may have only a tangential relation to Samuel Johnson.
The collection contains some original watercolor illustrations. Of particular interest are two illustrations of scenes from Shakespeare, attributed to Richard Westall, items (1. 64. 1) and (1. 64. 2). It also contains a complete copy of the 1785 Catalogue of the Valuable Library of Books of the Late Learned Samuel Johnson, Esq., LL.D., item (2. 154. 1).

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