American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Reason

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Standardizing the
English Language

A Grammatical Institute of the English Language . . .Part I
Noah Webster (1758-1843).
A Grammatical Institute of the
English Language . . .Part I
.

Page 2
Hartford, Conn.: Hudson & Goodwin,
for the author [1783]
Rare Book & Special Collections Division
Gift of John D. Batchelder, 1936 (102B)

Appropriately covered in a cross-stitched ABC sampler, Noah Webster's first speller helped initiate the cultural independence of America. Using his own money, Webster, a twenty-five-year-old rural Connecticut school teacher, published this uniform system of pronunciation and spelling with hopes that it would unify the new American nation under a common "American" language. Reissued and revised throughout the nineteenth century, more copies of Webster's "blue-back speller" have been sold than any other book except the Bible.

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