Dr. Samuel Johnson
Person Born 18/9/1709 Died 1784
Essayist, biographer, lexicographer and speaker of quotes. Born Lichfield, Staffordshire. Left home and travelled to London with David Garrick. "When a man is tired of London he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." from Boswell's "Life of Johnson". Lived at 17 different addresses, chosen dependent on his finances at the time. Married very happily to Tetty but a widower for a long time. His reported peculiarities have caused some to speculate that he was a sufferer of some obsessive-compulsive disorder and/or Tourette's. In his time was known as "Dictionary Johnson" for his masterpiece, the dictionary of the English language, mainly compiled in the garret at Gough Square. Defining over 42,000 words, It took him and his scribes nearly 9 years to complete. Famously, he defined "lexicographer" as "a harmless drudge". He got the job because, in the words of Adam Smith "he knew more books than any man alive". Established an evening club at the Essex Head in 1783. Died at home at 8 Bolt Court, very close to Gough Square but now demolished. Buried at Westminster Abbey.
The chief beneficiary of his will was Francis Barber, a black servant/butler who had been with Johnson from the age of 10 and was one of the two people present when Johnson died.