The New Student's Reference Work/Webster, Noah

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Webster, Noah, an American scholar, was born at Hartford, Conn., Oct. 16, 1758. He studied at Yale College and served in the militia under his father in the Revolutionary War. While a teacher at Goshen, N. Y., he published Grammatical Institutes of the English Language. He published books and lectured on political subjects, taught an academy at Philadelphia, practiced law at Hartford, edited a magazine and a newspaper, and wrote pamphlets on epidemic diseases, banking and international law. He was almost the first American to see the importance of Winthrop's Journal to the history of New England, editing and publishing it. He also was influential as a pamphleteer and a political publicist in the people's discussions of the federal constitution of the new nation. In 1807 he published a grammar and began his American Dictionary of the English Language; but decided to fit himself more perfectly for the work, and spent ten years in the study of the origin of the English language and its connection with other languages. Seven years were then spent on the dictionary, including a visit to Europe to consult books and scholars at Paris and at Cambridge. The dictionary was published in 1828 in two volumes in the United States, followed sooa by an edition of 3,000 copies in England. It has long been a standard dictionary of the English language, and has passed through many editions and revisions. More than 300,000 copies have been sold yearly, and the income from the book still is about $25,000 a year. As celebrated as the dictionary is Webster's Spelling-Book, which was used for many years in every school in the land, and of which more than 70,000,000 copies have been sold. Webster also published a History of the United States. He was one of the founders of Amherst College and a member of the Massachusetts legislature while residing in Amherst, and of the Connecticut legislature when living at New Haven. He died on May 28, 1843.