Fun Facts Friday: Noah Webster

October 16, 2015

Noah Webster (16 October, 1758 – 28 May, 1843) was an American educator and lexicographer who is best known for his seminal 1828 work of An American Dictionary of the English Language.

Noah Webster pre-1843 IMG 4412 Cropped.JPG
Noah Webster pre-1843 IMG 4412 Cropped” by James Herring (1794 – 1867) – This file was derived from  Noah Webster pre-1843 IMG 4412.JPG. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

1) During the American Revolution, Mr. Webster did not appreciate his students’ textbooks coming from England. In 1783 he published his own textbook, A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, which went on to sell almost 100 million copies over the next 100 years.
2) Mr. Webster believed that all languages derived from Chaldee, an Aramaic dialect.
3) The first federal copyright laws (1790) were instituted much due to Mr. Webster’s efforts to protect his work (even though he “borrowed” as well).
4) Mr. Webster founded, and edited for four years, the American Minerva New York City’s first daily newspaper.
5) Webster’s Compendious Dictionary of the English Language wasn’t the only dictionary at the time, Joseph Worcester also published his Worcester’s Comprehensive Pronouncing and Explanatory English Dictionary at the same time. Mr. Webster’s work, however, had definitions based on American usage of words (mainly by writers) as well as 5,000 or so words not included in British dictionaries.
6) Some Mr. Webster’s Americanized spelling (color vs. colour for example) never caught on (masheen/machine).
7) Mr. Webster published his own version of the King James Bible.
8) Amherst College in Massachusetts counts Noah Webster as one of its founders.
9) In an 1810 booklet titled Are Our Winters Getting Warmer, Mr. Webster warned about global warming.
10) When visiting Mr. Webster’s birthplace in West Harfford, MA, visitors can browse through the original edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language

Zohar – Man of la Book

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