Columbia Library columns (v.27(1977Nov-1978May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.27,no.3(1978:May): Page 10  

The Daily Diaries
of Hester Lynch Piozzi


HESTER L^NCH SALUSBURY, later the wife of
Henry Thrale and Gabriel Piozzi, is remembered
largely because of her close friendship with Samuel
Johnson. For about eighteen years Johnson spent at least half his
time living with the Thrales, and in her remarkable journals kept
at this time—"The Children's Book, or Radier Family Book," re¬
cently edited by .Mary H yde, and in Thraliana, edited by Katharine
Balderston in 1942—there is much valuable evidence about the
great man. After lier second marriage—to the Italian musician,
Gabriel Piozzi—and Johnson's death in 1784, Mrs. Piozzi published
a volume of anecdotes about him and an edition of his letters to
her, as well as a delightful account of her travels on the Continent,
and other books. These are what established her reputation as a
bluestocking writer of the late eighteenth century.

In her later life she also turned into an avid daily di;irist, regu¬
larly setting down each day some description of her social life and
activities. This was normally written in small yearly pocket books,
two of them in the scries under the titles of The Daily Journal and
The Ladies Own Memorandum Book, which allowed only about
three-quarters of an inch for each day's entry. None of hers has
ever been published because the subject matter is not \'ery exciting
and the friends she saw constantly were not important people. If
only she had kept a detailed daily journal and account book during
the 1760S and 1770s! Nevertheless, because a few of these later
diaries are now at Columbia University it does appear worthwhile
to sum up briefly what we know about tlieir history and what they
are like.

As a young woman and later as a busy wife and mother, Hester
  v.27,no.3(1978:May): Page 10