Johnson and His Books


Velleius Paterculus. Historiae Romanae. Leiden: Samuel Luchtmans, 1719. *2003J-SJ957.

Two great authors owned this copy of Paterculus's history of Rome. It was sold as lot 257 in the auction of Johnson's library; the sale price of seven shillings is marked at the top of the front endpaper. Some time thereafter, it came into the possession of William Wordsworth (1770-1850), who later gave it to his nephew Christopher, at his home in the Lake District, Rydal Mount. Johnson resolved to study Paterculus in his 1729 Libellus entry, and in a 1735 letter to his younger cousin Samuel Ford, recommended him as an author of one of the "purest ages" of Latin literature.