Contemporary tree calf, with outer hinges restored. Spines ruled in gilt in compartments with red and black morocco gilt lettering labels. Occasional light foxing and off-setting to first and last few pages. Binding extremities lightly rubbed. Previous owner's bookplate and a library bookplate on front paste-down of each volume, but with no library markings. Overall, an excellent copy of a book almost always found rebacked because of its size.
“‘The most ambitious publication ever undertaken, up to that time, upon American soil.’ Webster began work on his Dictionary in 1800. Along the way his produced his fat duodecimo Compendious Dictionary of the English Language, New Haven, 1806...and an abridgement of this for schools in 1807, and by 1813 he had learned twenty languages, seven of which were Asiatic or dialects of the Assyrian, to which twenty he later added Portuguese, Welsh, Gothic and the early dialects of English and German. He spent a year abroad in 18234-25 to perfect the work, and began printing May 8, 1827...Webster set a new standard for entymological investigation, and for accuracy of definition (‘a born definer of words’—Sir James Murray), and included 70,000 words, as against the 58,000 of any previous dictionary. There were 2,500 copies printed, in boards uncut or full calf...Webster wrote every word of the manuscript of the dictionary himself” (Grolier, 100 American).
“This dictionary, which almost at once became, and has remained, the standard English dictionary in the United States, was the end-product of a stream of spelling books, grammars, readers and dictionaries which flowed from the pen of the industrious Noah Webster...Webster’s great dictionary, all the 70,000 entries of which he wrote with his own hand, has been reprinted and brought up to date innumerable times...the book marked a definite advance in modern lexicography, as it included many non-literary terms and paid great attention to the language actually spoken. Moreover, his definitions of the meaning of words were accurate and concise (Sir James Murray, editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, called him ‘a born definer of words’) and have for the greater part stood the test of time superbly well” (Printing and the Mind of Man).
Grolier, 100 American, 36. Printing and the Mind of Man 291. Sabin 102335. Skeel 583.
HBS # 64738 $27,500