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MS Hyde 75

Hill, George Birkbeck Norman, 1835-1903. Johnsonian Miscellanies, extra-illustrated, 1538-1900: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: f
Call No.: MS Hyde 75
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Hill, George Birkbeck Norman, 1835-1903.
Title: Johnsonian Miscellanies, extra-illustrated,
Date(s): 1538-1900,
Date(s): (bulk) 1738-1866.
Quantity: 1 collection (2 linear feet (9 volumes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Printed books with hundreds of inserted manuscripts and prints relating to the text, compiled and bound by collector Robert Borthwick Adam.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2003JM-75. 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., in the years following the book's publication in 1897. 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 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.

Existence and Location of Copies:

Available on microfilm.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Johnsonian Miscellanies, Extra-illustrated, 1538-1900 (MS Hyde 75). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Separated Materials

Between 1948 and 2003, the Hydes removed many items from these volumes for exhibition, conservation, or reproduction. When possible, these removals have been listed as "REMOVED" after their appropriate page number, with a citation showing their present location. Most of the known removals were distributed through the unbound portions of the Hyde collections, which were bequeathed to the Houghton Library in 2003 along with these volumes. Only one removal has been noted without a tracking reference: item (9. 431. 1), which was given to another collector by Mary Hyde Eccles.



The Adams acquired prints and manuscripts to illustrate places and individuals mentioned in the text of Hill's book. The names are underlined in red ink in Hill'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: (3. 270. 6) indicates that the item is in Vol. 3 of Adam's 9-volume set. Within that volume, it appears facing page 270, and starts on the sixth inserted sheet facing that page. It follows immediately after (3. 370. 4) because that item is mounted on two sheets. Appearing after Hill's index, volume 9, pages 521-606, is a printed master index of inserted material. This was apparently compiled by Adam, and printed using a similar typeface and paper size as Hill's book. The index has separate sections for portraits; autographs; views; and miscellaneous illustrations.

Scope and Contents

The set includes prints and manuscripts for many of the people and places mentioned in Hill's Johnsonian Miscellanies, including individuals mentioned only in footnotes or as historical figures, who may have only a tangential relation to Samuel Johnson.
The set also includes letters by John Burgoyne; Wiliam Cobbett; Thomas De Quincey; Edward VII, King of Great Britain; Thomas Gainsborough; David Garrick; W. E. (William Ewart) Gladstone; Charles George Gordon; Thomas Jefferson; Pietro Metastasio; and many others. Also of note are original pencil sketches credited to Henry William Bunbury, item (7. 269. 2); and Ozias Humphry, item (7. 297. 4).

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