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March 19, 2004

Samuel Johnson Treasure Trove

Harvard's Houghton Library is the recipient of the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection, a private collection of Samuel Johnson materials ("A Samuel Johnson Trove Goes to Harvard's Library" - Katie Zezima, NYT, 3/18/04):

The collection offers an intimate look at the private and professional lives of Johnson and his literary contemporaries. It contains more than 4,000 rare volumes and 5,500 manuscripts and letters between Johnson and his acquaintances. It also holds more than 5,000 prints, drawings and objects, including Johnson's engraved silver teapot and a portrait of him by Gilbert Stuart.

Also in this amazing collection: A first edition of Johnson's 1755 dictionary, the only known copy with untrimmed pages (in bookbinding at the time, the paper edges were rough until they were cut cleanly as part of the final binding of the book); corrected proofs of Boswell's biography of Johnson; books from Johnson's private library, many containing his annotations in the margins; and his personal Bible, separated into seven leather-bound volumes for easier handling (Johnson read from it daily).

The library hopes to make the collection available within two years to scholars and students, and items such as Johnson's Bible will at some point be displayed. Incredibly exciting.

Yours, &c., LC | 02:14 PM | Librariana | TrackBack (0)

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