TITLE: The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of an American Culture
SPEAKER: Joshua Kendall
EVENT DATE: 06/02/2011
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 57 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Noah Webster's name is synonymous with the dictionary he created, but his story is not nearly so well-known. Webster hobnobbed with various Founding Fathers and was a young confidant of George Washington and Ben Franklin. He started America's first daily newspaper, predating Alexander Hamilton's New York Post. His "blue-backed speller" for schoolchildren sold millions of copies and influenced early copyright law. But perhaps most important, Webster was an ardent supporter of a unified, definitively American culture, distinct from the British, at a time when the United States of America were anything but unified -- and his dictionary of American English is a testament to that. Joshua Kendall has written an absorbing and insightful account of how American English came to be codified in his new book.
Speaker Biography: Joshua Kendall is a language enthusiast and an award-winning freelance journalist whose work has appeared in such publications as The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal and Psychology Today.
SERIES: Books & Beyond