On This Day

Samuel Johnson

Scholar and Lexicographer Samuel Johnson

Profession: Scholar and Lexicographer

Nationality:
England
English

Why Famous: One of the most prominent literary figures of the eighteenth century, Samuel Johnson greatest work was his "Dictionary of the English Language". Commissioned by a group of publishers, the task took Johnson nine years and was eventually published in 1755. Although not the first English dictionary it proved to be the most influential, its length was extensive and it included not only definitions but illustrations of usage.

Johnson's fame was further increased through his friendship with the lawyer James Boswell whom he met in 1763. Bowell published accounts of their travels together and his biography "Life of Johnson" in 1791.

When Johnson died in 1784 he was the acknowledged leader of London literary life and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Born: September 18, 1709
Birthplace: Lichfield, Staffordshire, England
Star Sign: Virgo

Died: December 13, 1784 (aged 75)

Married Life

  • 1735-07-09 Author, poet, critic and lexicographer and writer of the first English dictionary Dr. Samuel Johnson (25) marries the widow Elizabeth "Tetty" Porter, 21 years his senior

Historical Events

  • 1755-04-15 Samuel Johnson's "A Dictionary of the English Language" published in London
  • 1763-05-16 Samuel Johnson 1st meets his future biographer James Boswell in London

Famous English People