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Exhibit Commemorates 250th Anniversary of Noah Webster's Birth
Noah Webster, one of the principal founders of Amherst College and a 10-year resident of the Town of Amherst, is the subject of a new exhibit in the Archives and Special Collections of the Robert Frost Library at Amherst College. The exhibit commemorates the 250th anniversary of Webster’s birth on October 16, 1758. It is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 – 4:00, and will run from September 4, 2008-January 5, 2009. A complementary exhibit featuring Noah Webster’s life in Amherst from 1812-1822 has been prepared by the Jones Library. It is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 to 5:00, and on Monday and Saturday from 2:00 to 5:00.
Noah Webster is best known in Amherst as the founder and first president of the board of trustees of the Amherst Academy and as one of the principal founders of Amherst College. He gave the main address at the corner stone laying ceremony for the first Amherst College building, South Dormitory. At the end of the exercises, he was elected the second president of the Amherst College Board of Trustees.
Noah Webster is known as the “Father of the American Language.” American schools and individuals purchased more than 70 million of his “Blue-back Spellers,” grammars, and readers. These publications taught generations of Americans the same words, spellings, and pronunciations as well as the same stories and moral lessons. Webster wrote and encouraged the passage of American copyright legislation. He also published books in the fields of politics, medicine, theology, and history. He is best known, however, for his dictionaries. His American Dictionary, published in 1828, contained 70,000 words and sold for $20. It became the standard dictionary in America.