THE NOAH WEBSTER LEGACY
It was a gift from a friend—the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster. Somewhere in my memory I recalled that Mr. Webster’s name appeared in a list of our nation’s Founding Fathers, however, I remembered nothing about the details of his life or legacy. The dictionary that has always resided on my shelf is the Merriam-Webster version and any association of the hyphenated name to Noah Webster had escaped me.
Yet, over the last decade of my writing endeavors (after receiving this gift), my appreciation of Mr. Webster continues to grow. Without his push toward education and his extensive work in defining words my abilities to develop such pieces as this blog would be sorely strained. Here are a few facts to chew on…
- Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Noah Webster, Jr. was raised in a very active environment, being homeschooled by his mother in spelling, math and music and observing his father’s activities beyond farming as Noah, Sr. was always intellectually curious and a supporter of education for everyone. He even mortgaged their farm so that Noah Jr. could attend higher education classes.
- By the age of six, Noah joined neighborhood children in a dilapidated one-room primary school which could have dissuaded him from seeking further education because of teachers he later referred to as “the dregs of humanity.” (Are children today faced with that, too?) However, this experience only fortified his later desires to improve the educational experiences of future generations.
- At the age of fourteen he was tutored in the languages of Latin and Greek preparing him for enrollment in Yale just before his sixteenth birthday.
- This timeframe was also the season of our country’s revolution. Food shortages and the threat of the British invasion of mass military forces caused the president of Yale to scatter teachers to various towns where classes could safely be held.
- Attempting to keep up with his classes, Noah still joined the Connecticut Militia. He believed that American nationalism was superior to Europe because American values were superior. Thus began his pamphlet writing career publishing them under the pen name “A Citizen of America.”
My hope in sharing this information with you today is to encourage you to KEEP WRITING even in the midst of life’s challenges. The living (survival) conditions for folks in the late 1700s early 1800s left little time for “learning letters” let alone studies at “higher education” levels. However, Webster (and many of his compatriots) knew that unless people were given the opportunity communicate with words (spoken or written) that carried a specific definition—a distinctly American definition—many more battles would be fought and lives needlessly lost.
Yes, word lists were being produced 2300 years ago in regions of Samaria. Yet many believe that it wasn’t until approximately 400 BC that a “vocabulary list…with meanings of rare Homer-style words and other words from local dialects” was produced. You and I live in an AGE OF WORDS with access to online dictionaries from around the world—times past and times present. How marvelous to enjoy such finger-tip definitions giving us the ability to creatively exercise our writing skills and produce the books that will inform and bring enjoyment to future generations. ⚓︎
|ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.