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Noah Webster was an American lexicographer known for his 1783 American Spelling Book and his American Dictionary of English Language.
See the fact file below for more information on the Noah Webster or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Noah Webster worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
- Noah Webster Jr. was born on October 16, 1758 in West Hartford, Connecticut.
- Webster’s father, Noah Webster Sr., was a descendant of a governor in Connecticut, John Webster.
- Webster’s mother, Mercy Steele-Webster, was a descendant of a governor in Plymouth Colony, William Bradford.
- In 1774, Webster entered Yale College.
- Webster’s studies at Yale overlapped with the American Revolutionary War where he served in the Connecticut Militia.
- In 1788, Webster graduated from Yale.
- Webster taught in a school in Glastonbury for a short period of time before quitting.
- Webster quit his work to study law.
- Webster studied law under Oliver Ellsworth, a United States senator and the third Supreme Court Chief Justice.
- Webster quit his legal studies for a year when he experienced depression.
- Afterwards, Webster found another practicing attorney that tutored him.
- Webster then completed his studies and passed the bar examinations in 1781.
- Webster received his master’s degree from Yale University after giving an oral dissertation to the graduating class.
- A year after graduating, Webster opened a small private school in western Connecticut.
- Webster closed the school and left the town, and he turned to literary work.
- Webster worked on A Grammatical Institute of the English Language.
- The first part of this work is The American Spelling Book, which Webster finished in 1783.
- The spelling book gave Webster the financial stability with its estimated total sales of about 100,000,000 copies or more.
- In 1784 Webster finished a grammar and in 1785 Webster finished a reader, therefore completing A Grammatical Institute of the English Language.
- In 1806, Webster published his first dictionary entitled A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language.
- In 1807, Webster began working on An American Dictionary of the English Language, which is an expanded and fully comprehensive compilation.
- In line with his dictionary, Webster studied 28 languages including Old English, Gothic, German, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, Welsh, Russian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Persian, Arabic, and Sanskrit, for him to be able to understand the etymology of words.
- In January 1825, Webster was able to finish his dictionary while in a boarding house in Cambridge, England.
- Webster’s dictionary contained 70,000 words of which 12,000 had never appeared in a published dictionary before his dictionary.
- In 1828, Webster published his dictionary and later on registered it for copyright.
AS A FEDERALIST EDITOR
- In 1793, Alexander Hamilton lent money to Webster in order for him to move to New York City to edit the leading Federalist Party newspaper.
- In December 1793, Webster founded New York’s first daily newspaper called American Nirvana, which later became known as the Commercial Advertiser.
- Webster also became a Federalist spokesman and defended the administrations of George Washington and John Adams.
- Webster also defended the policy of neutrality between Britain and France and criticized the excesses of the French Revolution and its Reign of Terror.
- In 1799, Webster was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest learned societies in the United States.
- In 1800, Webster was elected as a Federalist to the Connecticut House of Representatives.
- The first edition of the Webster’s Dictionary was published in 1828.
- The second edition was published in 1841, with the help of his son, William.
- When Webster died, his heirs sold the unbound sheets of his 1841 revision to a firm.
- In 1845, the third printing of the second edition of Webster’s work was done by George and Charles Merriam which resulted in the first Webster’s dictionary with a Merriam imprint.
- In 1898, Merriam-Webster presented its Collegiate Dictionary.
- Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is currently on its eleventh edition.
- On October 26, 1789, Webster married Rebecca Greenleaf in New Haven, Connecticut.
- The two had eight children: Emily Schotten, who was born in 1790; Frances Julianna, born in 1793; Harriet, born in 1797; Mary, born in 1799; William, born in 1801; Eliza Steele, born in 1803; Henry Bradford, born in 1806; and Louisa, born in 1808.
- Webster died on May 28, 1843 and his remains are buried in New Haven’s Grove Street Cemetery.
- It took Webster 27 years to complete, compile, and publish his dictionary and he was 70 years old when it was published.
- Webster is known to be an abolitionist.
- Webster means “female weaver.”
Noah Webster Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Noah Webster across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Noah Webster worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Noah Webster who was an American lexicographer known for his 1783 American Spelling Book and his American Dictionary of English Language.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Noah Webster Facts
- Webster Who?
- Noah’s Life
- Test Yourself!
- Word Records
- Make One!
- Look For Them
- Create Your Own
- Letter to Webster
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