Archive for December, 2008

The Year of Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary


Welcome to Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary, a word-a-day dictionary from Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language (London: Printed by W. Strahan for J. and P. Knapton, [1755]), one of the first dictionaries to document the daily working life of the English language.

In celebration of the three hundredth anniversary of Johnson’s birth in 1709, a definition from the first edition of the dictionary will be posted each day for readers’ lexiconic delight, beginning on January 1, 2009. Words will be taken from the annotated proof copy of the first edition, extra-illustrated with Johnson’s and his helpers’ manuscript corrections, which is held in the collections of Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

To celebrate Johnson’s tercentenary, the Beinecke Library will be offering an exhibition on the writing of Boswell’s Life of Johnson in July – September, 2009, drawing on the Beinecke’s Boswell Family Papers collection. As a contribution to the tercentenary festivities, and in support of scholarship on Johnson and Boswell, the Beinecke will be scanning the entire James Boswell segment of the Boswell Family Papers and making the collection available in its Digital Images and Collections. Further information on the Boswell Family Papers can be found in the finding aid for the collection.

If you should have any questions, please contact Kathryn James, the Beinecke Library’s Assistant Curator for Early Modern Books and Manuscripts & the Osborn Collection, at