icon for Home page
icon for Kid's Home page
icon for Digital Collection
icon for Activities
icon for Turns Exhibit
icon for In the Classroom
icon for Chronologies
icon for My Collection

Online Collection
Select a transcription:

"Who taught millions to read but not one to sin."


"Only two men have stood on the New World whose fame is so sure to last. Columbus its discoverer, and Washington its savior, Webster is and will be its great teacher ; these three make our trinity of fame."

This eminent lexicographer was born at West Hartford, Connecticut, October 16, 1758. He entered Yale College in 1774, and graduating four years after, commenced the study of law, earning his support by school-teaching. In 1783, he issued the first Spelling Book published in the United States ; he was the author of an English Grammar, a History of the United States, and some minor treatises ; but the great achievement of his life, that which will perpetuate his name, was his American Dictionary of the English Language, which is now known as " Webster’s American Quarto, Unabridged." He was connected with the newspaper press in New York in 1793, subsequently he resided in Amherst, Massachusetts, and finally settled in New Haven, Connecticut, representing the two latter places in the state legislatures several years. Dr. Webster died after a short illness on the 28th of May, 1843, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. He will long be remembered by many as the youthful soldier, the thoughtful politician, the laborious lexicographer, and the Christian moralist " Who taught millions to read but not one to sin."

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
Contact us for information about using this image.

label levels:

Early English dictionaries contained archaic spellings and provided definitions for rarely used words. At the same time, compilers generally omitted slang and other words they considered too common to include in a dictionary. In contrast, Noah Webster (1758-1843) included simplified spellings and definitions of commonly used words in his new American dictionaries. For example, Webster encouraged Americans to substitute "music" for the traditional "musick." Similarly, "plough" became "plow" and "honour" became "honor." (Not all Americans approved of Webster's innovations, and not all of Webster's spellings caught on. We still use "tongue" rather the simplified "tung" he urged Americans to use.) William G. Webster (1805-1869) published this sequel to his father's famous introductory speller in 1845. Like his father, William urged Americans to adopt simplified spelling and offered a dictionary of the words most commonly used in daily writing and conversation. And, like Noah before him, William reminded readers of the importance of education in sustaining a free government and people. The accompanying illustration of "Ignorance fleeing before the Light of Knowledge" was a popular theme in this period.


top of page

"A Sequel to Webster's Elem. Spelling Book: or A Speller & Definer"

publisher   George F. Cooledge
author   William Greenleaf Webster (1805-1869)
date   1845
location   New York
height   7.5"
width   4.75"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Books/Textbook / Schoolbooks
accession #   #L00.023

Look Closer icon My Collection icon Document Image icon Detailed info icon

ecard icon Send an e-Postcard of this object

See Also...

"An American Selection of Lessons in Reading and Speaking"

"The Young Reader; To Go With The Spelling Book"

"Abstract of the Massachusetts School Returns for 1838-9"

"Picturesque Hampden"

button for Side by Side Viewingbutton for Glossarybutton for Printing Helpbutton for How to Read Old Documents


Home | Online Collection | Things To Do | Turns Exhibit | Classroom | Chronologies | My Collection
About This Site | Site Index | Site Search | Feedback