The Johnsonian Newsletter

The purpose of the JNL is to connect the many and disparate people who take an interest in the life and works of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). This semi-annual journal publishes articles about Johnson’s reception in the contemporary world as well as about his works and his life understood within their own place in history. Most issues also include columns devoted to the latest news of some members of Johnson’s circle, particularly James Boswell and Fanny Burney. Among subscribers to the JNL are teachers, scholars, librarians, book collectors, publishers, lawyers, and Johnsonian enthusiasts of every stripe.

The JNL was born on 28 December 1940 at an MLA meeting. Its creator was James Clifford, then of Lehigh University and later, for many years, a professor at Columbia University. He began by mimeographing a few sheets containing news items, which he circulated to interested parties for $1.00 per year. Later, the JNL became a pamphlet bound with staples, and later still a paperback journal with a perfect binding. Along with James Clifford, and after his death, John H. Middendorf worked on the journal as assistant, associate, and full editor for nearly forty years before passing it on to Stuart Sherman, who held the editorship for ten years. In 2003, with essential help from Peter Kanter and the Penny Press, Robert DeMaria, Jr. brought the JNL to Vassar College. The journal, its editor, and one associate editor — Joanne Long — are supported by Vassar College. Nancy Johnson of the State University at New Paltz rounds out the editorial team. The journal also depends on the generous cooperation of its many contributors. All those with an interest in the subject and news to impart are encouraged to participate.