James Boswell

James Boswell (1740-1795) is best known as the author of the greatest biography written in English: The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1791). A prolific writer, published regularly in both Edinburgh and London, his stated profession was as Barrister, first at the Scots bar and then at the English. The eldest child of Alexander and Euphemia Boswell, he was heir to a respectable estate in Ayrshire. In 1782 upon the death of his father (who was a member of the Scottish supreme court), Boswell became the ninth Laird of Auchinleck.

An outgoing man who loved to keep company with the most famous people of the age, and who compulsively wrote about his life, Boswell left a treasure of manuscript materials that today provide thoughtful, first-hand accounts of life and writing in Britain during the second half of the eighteenth century.