Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson

The premier collection of rare books and manuscripts relating to the life and work of Samuel Johnson.
Portrait of Samuel Johnson, John Opie, 1761–1807. View Details.
Houghton Library
Johnson, Samuel. The plan of a dictionary of the English language (1746).
The plan of a dictionary of the English language, 1746, Samuel Johnson. View Details.
Houghton Library

The bequest of Mary, Viscountess Eccles (1912–2003), Houghton Library's Hyde Collection contains a comprehensive collection of the published work of Dr. Samuel Johnson, the 18th-century English author best known for his Dictionary of the English Language (1755).

In addition, the Hyde Collection holds a number of Johnson's original manuscripts, more than half of his surviving letters, books from his library, portraits, and personal artifacts.

Johnson was the center of a literary and social circle also well-documented in the Hyde Collection, including books and manuscripts relating to James Boswell, Hester Thrale Piozzi, David Garrick, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Oliver Goldsmith, and many others.

In total, the collection contains more than 4,000 volumes, approximately 5,500 letters and manuscripts, and more than 5,000 prints, drawings, and objects.

Accessing These Materials

The collection as a whole can be found in HOLLIS through the heading Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson (Houghton Library). There are also many other materials at Houghton related to Johnson, Boswell, Piozzi, and other members of Johnson's circle, and they can be found through HOLLIS as well.