Noah Webster Fact Sheet

  • The name, Webster, means “female weaver.”
  • He went to Yale and was the only one of the Webster’s five children to go past grammar school.
  • Noah and Nathan Hale were at Yale at the same time:  Hale was three years ahead of Noah.
  • He socialized with Ben Franklin, who was known as quite a lively character.
  • When he asked his father for money to study law, his father gave him worthless currency. (this makes it sound like his dad didn’t care about him!)
  • Noah loved music and dancing.
  • He once lived in a house in New Haven that belonged to Benedict Arnold.
  • Noah and Rebecca had six daughters and two sons.
  • He was invited to the White House for dinner but was uncomplimentary of this event.
  • The dictionary took Noah 27 years to compile and was published when he was 70 years old.
  • Noah’s, An American Dictionary, published in 1828, contained 70,000 words.
  • As an adult, Noah was frequently in debt.
  • Noah’s New Haven home was saved by Henry Ford and moved to Greenfield Village, Michigan
  • Noah became more conservative in politics and religion as he aged.
  • Though known as an abolitionist, he did not believe that blacks were equal to whites.
  • Noah received less than one cent per copy from the 25 million “Blue-Backed Spellers” sold in his lifetime.
  • Possibly as many as 100 million copies of the “Blue-Backed Speller” were sold by the 19th century.
  • Noah was very outspoken and frequently pointed out the flaws of others.
  • Noah was not elected to the Constitutional Convention because of his open criticism of Connecticut leaders’ financing of the Revolutionary War.
  • Noah’s remained committed to education throughout his life. He believed that the survival of the United States depended on its educated people.
  • Noah died in 1843 at the age of 86. He is buried in New Haven’s Grove Street Cemetery.