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Samuel Johnson

Johnson, Samuel, 1696–1772, American clergyman, educator, and philosopher, b. Guilford, Conn., grad. Collegiate School (now Yale), 1714; father of William Samuel Johnson. He became a Congregationalist minister, but in 1722 joined the Church of England. In 1724 he opened the first Anglican church in Connecticut at Stratford, remaining its minister until 1754, when he became the first president of an Anglican institution, King's College (now Columbia), in New York City. He resigned in 1763 to return to Stratford. A friend and correspondent of the English philosopher George Berkeley, Johnson became the principal exponent in America of Berkeleian idealism. His chief work was Ethica (1746), republished in an enlarged edition by Benjamin Franklin as Elementa Philosophica (1752).

See H. and C. Schneider, ed., Samuel Johnson … His Career and His Writings (4 vol., 1929, repr. 1972); B. Redford, ed., The Letters of Samuel Johnson (2 vol., 1994); biography by E. L. Pennington (1938); study by J. J. Ellis (1973).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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