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The Boswell Collection

Correspondence and manuscripts documenting the lives of more than ten generations of Boswell family members.
Life of Johnson, holograph draft, undated

The Boswell Collection documents the lives, activities, and interests of more than ten generations of Boswell family members. The papers span the dates 1428-1936, but the bulk of the material dates from the eighteenth century. In particular, the Boswell Collection contains the correspondence, diaries, and manuscripts of author James Boswell, the Scottish lawyer, diarist, and author of the Life of Johnson published in 1791.

As a contribution to the tercentenary celebration of Samuel Johnon, and in support of scholarship on Johnson and Boswell, the Beinecke has begun scanning the entire James Boswell segment of the Boswell Family Papers.

The Collection

196 boxes containing the correspondence, diaries, and manuscripts of James Boswell; estate records, letters, personal and professional papers, and other materials documenting the lives and careers of generations of Boswells and their possession of the barony of Auchinleck; and correspondence relating to the political career of Alexander Bruce, Earl of Kincardine. Currently, only a portion of the Boswell Papers are available online.

The Exhibition

Really As It Was: Writing the Life of Samuel Johnson
September 18, 2009 - December 19, 2009

Related Resources

Early Modern at the Beinecke blog
Dr. Johnson's Dictionary

Osborn Collection
Call Numbers
Boswell Collection. General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library


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