Samuel Johnson Collection

The Reed Collections hold many early works of the English writer, critic and lexicographer Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784).

The Collection includes first and early editions; critical and biographical publications including several editions of James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson; the Yale editions of James Boswell’s private papers and the works of Samuel Johnson respectively.

There is also archival material relating to A. H. Reed’s activities in promoting the life and works of Johnson.

Notable items include:

  • A first edition of Johnson’s ground breaking Dictionary of the English Language (1755).
  • His critical edition of The Plays of William Shakespeare (1765).
  • First editions of James Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) and Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (1785).
  • Volumes from the 18th-century periodicals The Spectator, The Rambler, The Adventurer and The Idler
  • An extra-illustrated edition of Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson, expanded into ten volumes by A. H. Reed through the insertion of 80 autograph letters and ephemera combined.

Samuel Johnson Collection