Noah Webster, one of the founding fathers of our country, was born in the village of West Hartford, Connecticut on October 16, 1758. He was a descendant of William Bradford, governor of the Plymouth Colony. Noah graduated from Yale College, studied law, and practiced it for a short time before deciding upon a career in teaching.
It was while teaching school that Noah sought to fulfill his calling and use his talents to the betterment of the educational system of the newly formed Republic. He sought to build an educational system embracing the "love of virtue, patriotism, and religion." He believed that "education was useless without the Bible." Mr. Webster wrote, "in my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed."
In 1780, while teaching school, he compiled "The Blue-Backed Speller," an elementary spelling book, which sold well into the millions. Noah also compiled grammar books, readers, literature books, American History texts, etc. In his textbooks he promoted Christian character building and patriotism. Mr. Webster used the Word of God extensively in his teachings.
Noah Webster, though accomplishing great works for early America, had another dream. He one day hoped to present to his country the first American dictionary. After many painstaking years of research and study, learning twenty languages, and with the encouragement of Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and other American leaders, Noah Webster completed the first American Dictionary. It was published in 1828 in two volumes, entitled The American Dictionary of the English Language.
Webster recorded the entire manuscript of the dictionary by hand. The volume of words exceeded all others, with the total number of words defined reaching 70,000. This included 12,000 new words and 40,000 new definitions never before printed in a dictionary. He held to high Christian standards, refusing to admit vulgarism and slang into America's first dictionary. Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary surpassed all others of his day and became a mark of excellence to the new republic.
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
(2 Chronicles 7:14)