About this Effort and its Precursors
The Samuel Johnson Dictionary Sources web site sjdictionarysources.org is sponsored and designed by Brian Grimes to facilitate educational and research efforts related to the Word List of the English Dictionary authored by Samuel Johnson in 1755, and revised by him in 1773.
An overview of this web site is provided below from The Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer, March 2023, An Exercise in Making Matter Matter, Samuel Johnson Dictionary Sources [https://www.sjdictionarysources.org/] by Brian K. Grimes; presented at 2022 EC/ASECS Winterthur conference.
For a thorough editorial treatment of the history and prefatory material of the Dictionaries, see Vol. XVIII of the Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson: Johnson on the English Language, Gwin J. Kolb and Robert DeMaria, Jr., editors, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 2005.
Lewis Freed, in a 1939 Cornell PhD dissertation, "The Sources of Johnson's Dictionary," (unpublished), focused on Volume 1 of the 1755 1st folio edition, and identified about 90% of the 1st edition authors on this web site (346 of about 400). About 50 additional authors are listed here as additions in the 4th edition folio. Freed also identified a similar percentage of the named works of the authors cited in the 1st edition.
Several specific Dictionary sources have been treated in some detail in theses or publications. The most significant of these is the work by E.J. Thomas, who traced over 17,000 attributions to Shakespeare's dramatic works to their source (about 15% of the total Dictionary quotations), working with Johnson;s markup of the Warburton edition of Shakespeare. Thomas, E.J., "A Bibliographical and Critical Analysis of Johnson's Dictionary, with Special Reference to Twentieth Century Scholarship," D.Phil. Dissertation, University of Aberystwyth, 1974.
Other important references in a study of Johnson's Dictionary, which include extensive road maps to other scholarly efforts, include:
Johnson's Dictionary and the Language of Learning, Robert DeMaria, Jr., University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill and London, 1986.
The Making of Johnson's Dictionary, 1747-1773, Allen Reddick, Cambridge University Press, 1990.
Johnson and English Poetry before 1660, W.B.C. Watkins, 1936, Princeton, Princeton University Press (rpt. 1965, New York, Gordian Press)
Philosophic Words, A Study of Style and Meaning in the Rambler and Dictionary of Samuel Johnson, by W.K. Wimsatt, Jr., New Haven, Yale University Press; London, Geoffrey Cumberlege, Oxford University Press, 1948. (ebook available)