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Hester Lynch Piozzi, known to history as Mrs. Thrale, was born in Bodvel, Caernarvonshire, to a family of Welsh gentry. She was the only child of her parents, Sir John Salusbury, a co-founder of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and his wife Hester Lynch Cotton. She was educated at a school in London, and became skilled in numerous languages, including Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish. In 1763, she married Henry Thrale, a wealthy brewer, with whom she had 12 children. Mrs. Thrale became a well-known London society hostess and a friend of Samuel Johnson, Fanny Burney, Oliver Goldsmith, David Garrick, Sarah Siddons, Edmund Burke, and Sir Joshua Reynolds, among others. Her close friendship with Dr. Johnson include long periods in which he lived with the Thrale family in their home. After her first husband's death, Hester fell in love with and married -- despite universal disapproval -- Gabriel Mario Piozzi, an Italian singer and composer, making her Mrs. Piozzi. In 1786, she published Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson, LL.D., during the last Twenty Years of his Life, which set off a rivalry with Johnson's biographer James Boswell. The following year, she published a two-volume edition of Letters to and from the Late Samuel Johnson. Her books, diaries, and letters serve as an important source of information about Johnson and 18th-century life.
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