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Anna Williams

(b. 1706, Rosemarket, Pembrokeshire, Wales – d. Sept. 6, 1783, 8 Bolt Court, Fleet Street, London )

Gender: F

Anna Williams (1706-1783) was a poet, and for thirty years the companion and housekeeper of Samuel Johnson. She lost her sight in the 1740s. She was the daughter of Zachariah Williams (d.1755), a scientist and physician who spent thirty years studying longitude. Her father fell ill and in 1748 they appealed for help to Dr Johnson, who took Anna into his household, where she lived until her death, with the exception of the period 1759-1765, where he visited her to drink tea every night before he went home. David Garrick gave a benefit performance for her in 1756 which produced £200, and in 1766 she published Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, with a preface by Johnson, who also contributed several pieces. It was published by subscription and earned her about £150; the 259 subscribers included Elizabeth Montagu and Elizabeth Carter.

Also known as:

  • Anna Williams

Please note that all dates and location information are provisional, initially taken from the library and archive catalogues. As our section editors continue to work through the material we will update our database and the changes will be reflected across the edition.