Fine group of two autograph letters signed, one document signed, and one related letter concerning the great American lexicographer, as follows:
Autograph letter signed ("N. Webster"), 2 pages (9 3/8 x 8 1/8 in.; 238 x 206 mm), New Haven, Connecticut, 22 November 1806, to Abiel Holmes in Cambridge, Massachussets, plus integral address leaf with postal cancel; formerly folded, lightly browned, tear from seal without loss. Green cloth folding case. Webster has submitted his Dictionary for comment to President Webber and Professor Ware of Harvard, and is anxious to receive their response: "If men of letters doubt of the merit of the work or of the expedience of encouraging it — I shall not ask the favor — their good opinion I am desirous to obtain — but unless perfectly voluntary, I am the last man to wish it ..."
Document signed twice ("Noah Webster"), also signed by Jerusha Watson, David Watkinson, Barzillai Hudson and H. Hudson, 4 pages (9 7/8 x 7 3/4 in.; 250 x 196 mm), [Hartford, Connecticut], 19 April 1816, being an indenture between Webster and Hudson & Company, booksellers, giving them the exclusive right to print his American Spelling Book within the United States for fourteen years, and establishing his son William G. Webster as an apprentice to them until the age of 21; formerly folded, two neat fold-tears, papered stamps on third page. Cream cloth folding-case, gilt-stamped title on spine.
Autograph letter (retained copy) signed ("N. Webster"), 1 page (10 x 7 7/8 in.; 254 x 200 mm), no place, no date, to unnamed newspaper editors, declining their request to publish his "... observations which I had delivered in Amherst on the political parties of the country ..." Instead he might be persuaded to offer a few remarks: "To teachers & students of all classes, I would attempt to show that in many, perhaps most of our schools pupils are constantly instructed in error. To the citizens at large I would attempt to show that the disorders of our government ... proceed from fundamental defects in the constitution, & to a prevalence of erroneous political principles among all classes of citizens ..."
Lukens, Charles J. Autograph letter signed ("Charles J. Lukens"), 4 pages (12 1/2 x 8 in.; 318 x 203 mm), Philadelphia, 29 June 1843, to G. & C. Merriam, incorporating 16 small pen-and-ink drawings; formerly folded, a few clean minor fold-tears, some soiling on last page. Gray half-morocco folding case, gilt-stamped title on spine. Lukens was an amateur antiquary, known for his expertise on American flags, who contributed to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and in 1872 gave a talk on "the heraldry of the American Flag" in Philadelphia (14 March 1872). In the present letter, which he heads "Some General Suggestions for Webster's Dictionary," Lukens offers extensive suggestions for the next edition of the dictionary, the rearrangment of illustrations (to accompany the entry they illustrate), and the incorporation of an American flag (for which he offers his own drawing of a 35-star example). He particularly wants sword and dagger drawings to be accurate and most of his sketches are of such weapons. Divisions of the dictionary, he offers, could be marked by fore-edge colors "... at present used by the Germans ..." He suggests that all pictures and material not from Webster be placed at the end of the dictionary instead of the beginning, and concludes: "... I judge after all you'll laugh and say this man wants us to make an exhaustive pictorial encyclopedia of an English dictionary ... "
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