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Noah Webster Family Papers, 1810-1917
4 archives boxes (2 linear ft.)

Abstract:
Letters, legal and business papers, journals, photographs and other materials belonging to Noah Webster and four generations of his descendants. Consists mainly of correspondence concerning lexicographer Noah Webster's life and work. Some papers relate to the work of educators Rev. Henry and Eliza Jones and of businessman Robert Day.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

In general, there is no restriction on access to the Noah Webster Family Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections.

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections

Biographical Note

Noah Webster, influential American lexicographer, author and teacher, was born in 1758 in West Hartford, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale College in 1778, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1781. As a schoolteacher in New York State, he became dissatisfied with children's textbooks, which he felt ignored distinctive elements of American language and culture. In 1783 he published The American Spelling Book, the famed "Blue-backed Speller," a widely used and highly influential textbook that is still in print. Subsequent publications of a grammar (1784) and a reader (1785) formed, with the speller, Webster's three-part Grammatical Institute of the English Language. Webster's advocacy of spelling reform in this period was responsible for most of the differences that exist today between American and British spelling. After marrying Rebecca Greenleaf in 1789, Webster practiced law in Hartford until 1793. In New York City he then founded two newspapers, American Minerva (said to be New York's first daily newspaper) and The Herald, both of which he sold in 1803. He moved to New Haven in 1798, where he was active in local politics. In 1806 Webster published his Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. This work prepared the way for the achievement for which he is most famous, An American Dictionary of the English Language, containing over 70,000 entries and published in two volumes in 1828. (Later, George and Charles Merriam purchased the rights to this dictionary from Webster's estate.)

From 1812 to 1822, Webster and his family lived in Amherst, Massachusetts, where, living largely off the income from his published schoolbooks, he farmed, served in the Massachusetts legislature and continued work on his dictionary. In Amherst the Webster family lived in a house on Main Street, facing the Common. (This house was destroyed by fire in 1838.) As a trustee of Amherst Academy, he was involved in the founding of the Amherst Collegiate Institute, the precursor of Amherst College. In 1822 the family moved back to New Haven. Noah Webster died in New Haven in 1843.

Descendants of Noah Webster: The following is a partial listing of the descendants of Noah Webster who are represented in the Noah Webster Family Papers.

1. Noah Webster (1758-1843) m. Rebecca Greenleaf
Daughter:
2. Eliza Steele Webster (1803-1888) m. Henry Jones (Oct 15, 1801-Nov. 7, 1878)
Daughter:
3. Emily Ellsworth Jones (1827-1869) m. Daniel Jones Day
Son:
4. Robert W. Day (b. 1854, Bridgeport Conn.; lived in Buffalo, N.Y.)
Son:
5. Rodney W. Day (b. 1883)

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Letters, legal and business papers, journals, photographs and other materials belonging to Noah Webster and four generations of his descendants, chiefly Eliza S.W. Jones, Emily J. Day, Robert W. Day, and Rodney W. Day. Much of the early 19th century correspondence concerns Noah Webster's publications, family history, travels and trials. Other family papers relate to the work of Rev. Henry and Eliza Jones as educators in Bridgeport, Conn. and Greenfield, Mass.; and to the personal and business affairs Robert W. Day, a businessman in Buffalo, N.Y.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

In general, there is no restriction on access to the Noah Webster Family Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

[Identification of item], in Noah Webster Family Papers [Box #, Folder #], Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library

History of the Collection


Additional Information
Contact Information
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000

Phone: (413) 542-2299
Fax: (413) 542-2692

Email Reference Form: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/askus
URL: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives
Language
English.
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
Series 1: Family Correspondence,
1817-1917


Consists of letters from four generations of the descendants of Noah Webster (following the line of his daughter, Eliza S.W. Jones, her daughter, Emily J. Day, her son, Robert W. Day, and his son, Rodney W. Day). Some of the more interesting topics discussed in the letters are Noah Webster's publications, and family history, travels and trials. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by addressor, and chronologically within each folder. When the author of a letter could not be determined, the letter was placed under the name of the person to whom it was addressed.

Adams, John S. to Henry Jones (1)
1836 Jan 21

Box 1: folder 1
Andrews, Samuel R. to Henry Jones (1)
1825 Jul 12

Box 1: folder 2
Barton, H. to Robert Webster Day (1)
1910 Apr 7

Box 1: folder 3
Beecher, Frances Juliana Jones (Mrs. Thomas K.) to Henry Jones (3)
1847-1874

Box 1: folder 4
Beecher, Frances Juliana Jones (Mrs. Thomas K.) to Robert Webster Day (1)
[1888?]

Box 1: folder 5
Beecher, Thomas Kinnicut to Eliza Steele Webster Jones (1)
1888 Jul 6

Box 1: folder 6
Boltwood, Lucius M. to Henry Jones (1)
1876 Nov 8

Box 1: folder 7
Day, Annie to Robert Webster Day (6)
1888-1914

Box 1: folder 8
Day, Daniel J. to Frances Juliana Jones Beecher (2)
1881-1882

Box 1: folder 9
Day, Daniel J. to Webster Day (1)
1863 May 27

Box 1: folder 10
Day, Elizabeth to Eliza Day (Mrs. Henry) (1)
[1859?] Feb 10

Box 1: folder 11
Day, Elizabeth to Henry Day (4)
1862-1865, n.d.

Box 1: folder 12
Day, Emily Ellsworth Jones (Mrs. Daniel) to Frances Juliana Jones Beecher (41)
1839-1869

Box 1: folder 13
Day, Emily Ellsworth Jones (Mrs. Daniel)to Daniel J. Day (12)
1852-1859

Box 1: folder 14
Day, Emily Ellsworth Jones (Mrs. Daniel) to Robert Webster Day (3)
1868-1869

Box 1: folder 15
Day, Emily Ellsworth Jones (Mrs. Daniel) to Frances Juliana Jones Goodrich (1)
1855 Jan 26

Box 1: folder 16
Day, Emily Ellsworth Jones (Mrs. Daniel) to Eliza Steele Webster Jones (22)
1846-1866

Box 1: folder 17
Day, Emily Ellsworth Jones (Mrs. Daniel) to Henry Jones (2)
1850-1851

Box 1: folder 18
Clara to "Aunt Emily," i.e. Emily Ellsworth Jones Day (Mrs. Daniel) (1)
n.d.

Box 1: folder 19
Day, M.E. to Robert Webster Day (cousin) (2)
1904-1909

Box 1: folder 20
Day, Robert Webster to Frances Juliana Jones Beecher (1)
1886 Mar 7

Box 1: folder 21
Day, Robert Webster to Emily Ellsworth Jones Day (20)
1868-1869, n.d.

Box 1: folder 22
Unknown to Robert Webster Day (8)
1894-1915, n.d.

Box 1: folder 23
Day, Rodney West to Robert Webster Day (1)
1912 Nov 25

Box 1: folder 24
Day, Susan to Robert Webster Day (8)
1901-1903

Box 1: folder 25
Esty, Reverend Isaac to Henry Jones (1)
1825 Jan 8

Box 1: folder 26
Goodrich, Frances Juliana (Mrs. Chauncey Allen) to Eliza Steele Webster Jones (13)
1837-1857, n.d.

Box 1: folder 27
Jones, Annie Marie Ward (Mrs. Henry Webster) to Eliza Steele Webster Jones (1)
[1883?] Jul 12

Box 1: folder 28
Holton, Agnes to Robert Webster Day (1)
1910 Sep 16

Box 1: folder 29
Jones, Daniel to Mr. Day (1)
1820 Nov 10

Box 1: folder 30
Jones, Daniel to Mr. and Mrs. H. King (1)
1818 May

Box 1: folder 31
Jones, Daniel to Rhoda Jones (7)
1818-1827

Box 1: folder 32
Jones, Daniel to Timothy Savage (1)
1817 Sep

Box 1: folder 33
Jones, Eliza Steele Webster (Mrs. Henry) to Frances Juliana Jones Beecher (22)
1847-1883

Box 2: folder 1
Jones, Eliza Steele Webster (Mrs. Henry) to Robert Webster Day (35)
1864-1917

Box 2: folder 2
Jones, Eliza Steele Webster (Mrs. Henry) to Robert Webster Day (grandson) (40)
1887

Box 2: folder 3
Jones, Eliza Steele Webster (Mrs. Henry) to Robert Webster Day (28)
1888

Box 2: folder 4
Jones, Eliza Steele Webster (Mrs. Henry) to Henry Jones (husband) (8)
1843-1869

Box 2: folder 5
Jones, Eliza Steele Webster (Mrs. Henry) to Henry Webster Jones (husband) (2)
1869, n.d.

Box 2: folder 6
Jones, Henry to Frances Juliana Jones Beecher (16)
1851-1878

Box 2: folder 7
Jones, Henry to Eliza Steele Webster Jones (2)
1825-1837

Box 2: folder 8
Jones, Henry to Henry Webster Jones (son) (5)
1854-1874

Box 2: folder 9
Jones, Henry Webster to Eliza Steele Webster Jones (mother) (1)
1878 Nov 5

Box 2: folder 10
[Ingham?], Anne S. to Robert Webster Day (1)
1910 Apr 5

Box 2: folder 11
McLauchlan, J. to Robert Webster Day (1)
1910 Sep 21

Box 2: folder 12
Moseley, Jonothan to Rev. Samuel R. Andrews (1)
1825 Jul 11

Box 2: folder 13
Pardee, Madeleine L. to Robert Webster Day (1)
1912 Jan 6

Box 2: folder 14
Phelps, A. to Henry Jones (1)
1843 Oct 10

Box 2: folder 15
Phillips, Blaine to Robert Webster Day (2); also transcript of a letter and copy of R.W. Day's reply, pencil autograph letter of R.W. Day to Phillips, broadside entitled, "What's the Matter?" (2 copies)
1911-1912

Box 2: folder 16
Pierce, V. Mott to Robert Webster Day
1909 Jul 15

Box 2: folder 17
Schagruder, Rosalie E. to Robert Webster Day (cousin) (1)
1902-1903

Box 2: folder 18
Seymour, John to Robert Webster Day (1)
1906 Apr 21

Box 2: folder 19
Smith, Edmund Sewall to Robert Webster Day (father-in-law) (1)
1902 Oct 15

Box 2: folder 20
Smith, Emily Webster Day to Robert Webster Day (father) (3)
1902-1903

Box 2: folder 21
Smith, Phillip to Robert Webster Day (2)
1910

Box 2: folder 22
Van Vechten, J. to Henry Jones (1)
1837 Jan 24

Box 2: folder 23
Washburn, Louis H. to Robert Webster Day (1)
1908 Jan 10

Box 2: folder 24
Webster, Louisa Webster to [Eliza Steele Webster Jones] (sister) (3)
1854-1856, n.d.

Box 2: folder 25
Webster, Noah to Eliza Steele Webster Jones (daughter) (11)
1819-1843

Box 2: folder 26
Webster, Noah to Henry Jones (4)
1832-1837

Box 2: folder 27
Webster, Rebecca to Frances Juliana Webster Goodrich (daughter) (1)
n.d.

Box 2: folder 28
Webster, Rebecca to Eliza Steele Webster Jones (11)
n.d.

Box 2: folder 29
West, Edward A. to Robert Webster Day (uncle) (2)
1909

Box 2: folder 30
Series 2: Miscellaneous Family Papers,
1810-1911


Relates chiefly to Robert W. Day and his business affairs in Buffalo, N.Y. However, this series also includes an interesting group of papers of or relating to Daniel Jones (brother of Henry Jones) which includes compositions written while in grammar school, two journals written while onboard schooners, records kept while he served as a member of the governor's foot guard and sundry lists of purchases and inventories.

Other manuscript groups of interest in Series 2 relate to Henry and Eliza Jones (educators who founded the Cottage School in Bridgeport, Connecticut and who were involved in the Greenfield High School for Young Ladies in Greenfield, Massachusetts); Illinois land holdings of Noah Webster; spelling reform; and Webster family genealogy.

Unidentified manuscripts: extracts from journal on writing a composition; essay on the law of honor, found near the Mirror office; general statutes of Conn. revision of 1875; miscellaneous poems, possibly written by Eliza S.W. Jones
1819-1905, n.d.

Box 3: folder 1
Poem "Aspiration" by Susan M. Day
n.d.

Box 3: folder 2
Miscellaneous manuscripts of, and relating to, Daniel Jones (31 items)
1810-1823

Box 3: folder 3
Journal of Daniel Jones aboard Demarara; Journal of Daniel Jones aboard Aurora/Renewal
1827 Jun-Jul

Box 3: folder 4
Poem "The Drear of Youth" by Henry Jones
[c. 1820]

Box 3: folder 5
Poem "The Luck of Eden Hall" in hand of Eliza S. W. Jones
[c. 1830]

Box 3: folder 6
Minutes of Washington School District in hand of Eliza S.W. Jones
[c. 1859]

Box 3: folder 7
Valentine poem sent to Eliza S. W. Jones by [Norman Day]
n.d.

Box 3: folder 8
Epitaphs copies by Henry Jones; music notebook by Henry Jones
[c. 1815]

Box 3: folder 9
Autograph notebook belonging to Emily Ellsworth Jones, signed by Noah Webster (1843 Apr 13) and others
1843-1878

Box 3: folder 10
Commonplace book belonging to Henry Jones; Some Chronicles of the Day Family, 1750-1850, compiled by E.D.P. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1893
ca. 1825-1893

Box 3: folder 11
Cottage School on Golden Hill (Bridgeport, Conn.) - circulars and catalog of students and teachers (Henry Jones, Principal)
1838-1861

Box 3: folder 12
Genealogical information
n.d.

Box 3: folder 13
Legal documents concerning division of land belonging to Noah Webster in Vermilion County, Illinois
1859-1902

Box 3: folder 14
Floor plan of Noah Webster house in Amherst, Mass.
n.d.

Box 3: folder 15
Pamphlet: Memorial tribute to E.S.W. Jones (2 copies)
1888

Box 3: folder 16
Straight pincushions, 1 velvet, 1 silk, embroidered with initials and geometry ("From mementos of father's in the old secretary" - from note signed by Delia W. Ellsworth)
n.d.

Box 3: folder 17
Locks of hair belonging to Noah Webster and Rebecca Webster
n.d.

Box 3: folder 18
Printed material belonging to Robert W. Day relating to spelling reform
1906-1909

Box 4: folder 1
Catalogs from Greenfield High School for Young Ladies, Greenfield, Mass. (Henry Jones and Spencer Root, directors)
1828-1838

Box 4: folder 2
Materials relating to the Auto Radiator Company, Buffalo, N.Y. (stock information of R.W. Day)
1906-1908

Box 4: folder 3
Materials relating to speed boats and yachts (R.W. Day)
1905-1906, n.d.

Box 4: folder 4
Materials relating to Carabelle, Tallahassee & Georgia Railroad Company and St. George Development Company of Florida (property settlements of R.W. Day)
1892-1908

Box 4: folder 5
Materials relating to Portland Cement Company (stock information of R. W. Day)
n.d.

Box 4: folder 6
Materials relating to Ellicott Square of Buffalo (life insurance policies of R.W. Day)
1908-1915

Box 4: folder 7
Materials relating to Massachusetts Mutual Life (insurance policies of R.W. Day)
1905-1911

Box 4: folder 8
Materials relating to White & Warhus Mining Company (claim information of R.W. Day)
1906-1908

Box 4: folder 9
Miscellaneous pamphlets and materials relating to Yale University (R.W. Day)
1864-1893

Box 4: folder 10
Miscellaneous invoices belonging to R.W. Day
1905-1909

Box 4: folder 11
Announcements and invitations belonging to R.W. Day
1893-1910

Box 4: folder 12
Calling cards given to R.W. Day
n.d.

Box 4: folder 13
Newsclippings relating mostly to spelling reform and Noah Webster
ca. 1900-1910

Box 4: folder 14
Photographs, mostly unidentified
ca. 1850-1910

Box 4: folder 15

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

Subjects
  • Day, Emily J., 1827-1869.
  • Day, Robert W., 1854-
  • Day, Rodney W., 1883-
  • Jones, Eliza Steele Webster, b. 1803.
  • Jones, Henry, 1801-1878.
  • Webster family.
  • Webster, Noah, 1758-1843.

Contributors
  • Day, Emily J., 1827-1869.
  • Day, Robert W., 1854-
  • Day, Rodney W., 1883-
  • Jones, Eliza Steele Webster, b. 1803.
  • Jones, Henry, 1801-1878.
  • Webster, Noah, 1758-1843.


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