Sam Johnson, Married and Widowed

Sam Johnson got married in 1735 to Elizabeth Porter. He was 25 and she was 46; in addition, they had met only about a year or so before and she had been widowed just over 10 months when the wedding took place. Sam was a bit younger than the average age at the time for […]

Clean Linen: Sam, Sheets, and Personal Hygiene in the 18th Century

One of Sam’s more memorable quotes concerns the brilliant and eccentric poet Christopher Smart, who was born in 1722 and so was about 13 years younger than Sam himself. Smart showed early promise and in fact did well for himself, both literarily and financially, in the early part of his career. However, when he was […]

General: “Publick; Comprising the Whole”

My biography of Sam Johnson is being written, as you know if you’ve followed this blog or looked at the website, for the general reader. The concept is simple. Most comprehensive and authoritative modern biographies of Johnson published, well, ever, are really aimed at scholars. They are written by scholars for scholars, and though that […]