Webster, Noah

1838 ALS from the lexicographer and education pioneer, his textbooks taught 5 generations of American children to spell & read

Price: $750.00

Description:
(1758-1843) “The Father of American Scholarship and Education”, Connecticut lexicographer, textbook pioneer, spelling reformer, political writer, editor, and prolific author. His blue-backed speller books taught 5 generations of American children how to spell and read, and made elementary education more secular and less religious. His name became synonymous with "dictionary," esp. the modern Merriam-Webster dictionary first pub. in 1828 as An American Dictionary of the English Language. He dedicated his Speller and Dictionary to providing an intellectual foundation for American nationalism. An outspoken supporter of the new Constitution, Alexander Hamilton lent him $1500 in 1793 to move to NYC to edit the leading Federalist newspaper. In December, he founded New York's 1st daily newspaper, American Minerva (later, The Commercial Advertiser), editing it for 4 years, writing the equivalent of 20 volumes of articles and editorials. He also published the semi-weekly The Herald, and A Gazette for the Country (later, The New York Spectator). For decades, he was one of the most prolific authors in the new nation, publishing textbooks, a report on infectious diseases, political essays, and newspaper articles for his Federalist Party. He returned to New Haven in 1798, elected as a Federalist to the Conn. House of Representatives 1800 & 1802-07. Daniel Webster, his cousin, sponsored Noah’s proposed copyright bill, the 1831 Act, the 1st major statutory revision of US copyright law. His A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, consisted of a Speller (1783), a Grammar (1784), and a Reader (1785) to provide a uniquely American approach to teaching children. The Speller was originally titled The First Part of the Grammatical Institute of the English Language. Over 385 editions in his lifetime, the title was changed in 1786 to The American Spelling Book, and again in 1829 to The Elementary Spelling Book. Most called it the "Blue-Backed Speller" because of its blue cover, and for the next 100 years it taught children how to read, spell, and pronounce words. It also helped create popular contests known as “spelling bees”. His 1785 Reader was designed to uplift the mind and "diffuse the principles of virtue and patriotism." Students read Plutarch, Shakespeare, Swift, and Addison, as well as such Americans as Joel Barlow's Vision of Columbus, Timothy Dwight's Conquest of Canaan, and John Trumbull's poem M'Fingal, plus excerpts from Tom Paine's The Crisis and an abolitionist essay by Thomas Day. His Speller was entirely secular, no mention of God, the Bible, or sacred events. Webster's books lost market share to the McGuffey Eclectic Readers after 1840. His 1st dictionary, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language pub. 1806. In 1807 he began an expanded, comprehensive dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language which took 27 years to complete. It contained 70,000 words, of which 12,000 had never appeared in a published dictionary before. He introduced American spellings, replacing "colour" with "color", "wagon" for "waggon", and "center" for "centre". He also added American words, like "skunk" and "squash", that did not appear in British dictionaries. Nice content 6 ¾ x 7 ¾ ALS “Noah Webster”, New Haven (Connecticut), December 3 1838, sending his autograph, writing “…I assure you that you [“that you” lightly crossed through], as my fellow citizen, that no person can have a more lively wish for the welfare & prosperity of the rising generation…” A perfect gift for an English major!

Condition: Very good, slight wrinkling
Type:Letter






[View Shopping Cart]
[Home] [Articles] [Biography] [Calendar]
[Catalogue] [Search]



enbainc@cs.com

Edward N. Bomsey Autographs, Inc.
7317 Farr Street
Annandale, VA 22003-2516
(703) 642-2040(phone & fax)




Home
Home

Articles
Articles

Biography
Biography

Calendar
Calendar

Catalogue
Catalogue

Search
Search