"Dictionary of the English Language" by Samuel Johnson (1755)

An exhibition of a first edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, printed in 1755 in London and currently housed at Tufts University's Tisch Library Special Collections.

Drawing upon contemporary literature and historical sources, Samuel Johnson pieced together his Dictionary of the English Language over the course of nine years of intense labor and financial hardship. Johnson's Dictionary was the first English dictionary of its kind and provided comprehensive grammar lessons, a history of the English language, and definitions for most known English words. Johnson's dictionary was widely regarded as the preeminent dictionary for the centuries following its publication and was adopted for the instruction of English in colonies across the globe.  


Exhibit by Colin W Riley. A collaboration of Tisch Library Special Collections and students in History 96: History of the Book, taught by Professor Alisha Rankin at Tufts University, Spring 2017.