Guide to the Research Collections

- Section -- II: -- THE HUMANITIES
- Noah Webster

Noah Webster

The Webster collection is remarkable not only in bulk of material but in its significance; many of the volumes were Webster's own or have other association value.5 Possession of the major portion of Webster's personal and business papers makes the holdings outstanding. The strength of the collection is based on the gifts of Worthington Chauncey Ford and Paul Leicester Ford in 1899, and further additions made by their sister Mrs. Emily Ellsworth Ford Skeel. The Noah Webster materials in the Ford collection in the Manuscripts and Archives Division include about 1,500 pieces of correspondence, Webster's diaries for the years 1784-1820, and lexicographical materials, in addition to the papers of Noah Webster's son William Greenleaf Webster. The extensive collection of early dictionaries and school books by Webster in the Rare Book Division was strengthened by a gift in 1954 from Mrs. Theodore L. Bailey, presented as a tribute to her aunt, Emily Skeel. This brought editions of Webster's speller and other works not hitherto available in the Research Libraries, most notably a first edition of A Grammatical Institute, of the English Language ... (1783).6