Noah was a member of an average colonial family. His mother worked at home while his father was a farmer and a weaver. Noah often helped his father farm with his two brothers. At that time, not many people got to go to college, but he loved to learn so much that his parents allowed him to go to Yale.
He left for college in New Haven, in 1774, at age 16. Noah wanted to study law but his parents could not afford it, so he studied teaching He graduated in 1778 and became a teacher in West Hartford, Glastonbury, and Hartford. He later went on to study law. Noah had a strong opinion about American schools, he did not like them at all. The idea of seventy children of all ages stuffed into a one-room schoolhouse with no desks, poor schoolbooks, and untrained teachers was wrong.
Most of their books came from England and Noah thought that Americans should learn from American books. So in 1778, Noah wrote A Grammatical Institute of the English Language. This book was nick-named the ”Blue-Backed Speller” because of its blue cover. For one-hundred years, Noah’s book taught children in America to read, spell, and pronounce words.
It was one of the most popular American books of that time. Ben Franklin used the book to teach his granddaughter how to read. In 1789, Noah married Rebecca Greenleaf. Together they had eight children.
Noah was well-loved by the children. He would carry candies in his pockets to share with them. The Websters lived in New Haven, and then moved Amherst, Massechusetts. There Noah helped start Amherst College.
He later moved back to New Haven. Noah was 43 when he started writing the first American dictionary. He did so because he thought that Americans should speak and spell differently than the English. He also realized people were speaking and spelling differently in different parts of the country. He began the dictionary in 1801. Noah also added words that were not used in Great Britain.
Noah had a little help from other writers and teachers, but he did most of the work and research himself. It took him over twenty-seven years to finish the dictionary and when he did finish in 1828, the dictionary had over 70,000 words in it. Noah did many other things in his life. He worked for copyright laws, wrote textbooks, edited magazines, and Americanized the English language.
He taught many children how to read and write the American way. Noah was also a writer for a Massechusets newspaper for many years. He became editor and played a very important role in the success of that newspaper. When Noah died in 1843, he was considered to be an American hero.
He helped to make America more separated from Great Britain and the American people liked him for that. Noah’s dictionary is still used today, and will probably be used for a long time to come.