To commemorate the tercentenary of the birth of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), whose influence on his time was as monumental as his legacy is enduring, Harvard University's Houghton Library presents this exhibition catalogue of items drawn from the "Donald & Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson", bequeathed to the library in 2004 by Mary Hyde Eccles. This copiously illustrated catalogue documents sixty years of assiduous and painstaking effort on the part of Lady Eccles, initially in collaboration with her first husband, Donald F. Hyde, and later with the encouragement and support of her second husband, David, Viscount Eccles, to assemble one of the world's finest collections of eighteenth-century English literature. The catalogue, including essays on Johnson's literary durability and on Donald and Mary Hyde's life as collectors, pays tribute to a great literary icon and to a remarkably generous woman who devoted her life to collecting an astonishing array of books, manuscripts, prints, and other rare artifacts relating to his life and times.
John Overholt is Assistant Curator of the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson and of Early Modern Books and Manuscripts at the Houghton Library of Harvard University. Thomas A. Horrocks is Associate Librarian for Collections, Houghton Library of Harvard University. James Engell, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Harvard, is the author of The Creative Imagination, editor and contributor to Johnson and His Age, and coeditor (with David Perkins) of Teaching Literature: What is Needed Now, all published by Harvard University Press. He is also coeditor of the Bollingen edition of the Biographia Literaria for the Collected Works of Coleridge.