Samuel Johnson. A dictionary of the English language. 6th edition. London: Printed for W. Strahan [et al.], 1778. Two volumes; Vol. 1 displayed.
Reed’s primary literary interest was Dickens, but he was also drawn to Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) for his literary merit, personality and no doubt his piety. He began collecting Johnsoniana about the end of the First World War, gathering not just books, but a wealth of manuscript material, chiefly autograph letters. The Johnson Collection today numbers more than 800 items, including first and early editions.
The cornerstone of Reed’s early Johnson collection was his ten-volume extra-illustrated edition of Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson (see Case 19). A small cluster of early Johnsonian editions was included in the original gift of 1948, under the heading ‘Books of unusual interest’. This case features a selection.