Friday, July 24, 2009

Walker's Dictionary 1815... One of the first in America

Walker's dictionary started in 1791. It went into various revisions and editions. It was the way a dictionary looked before the age of Websters. The spelling of course is in the British style. The age of Noah Webster was soon to arrive. But as of this printing of 1815, it was still 11 years in the future. This book was published in New York City at 14 Wall Street.
The original owner I would guess was Oliver Corey, who signed this book quite elaborately on Jan 11, 1821.
This is the faceplate of the book
Notices about the publication and what is in the book and introduction. It is interesting to read.
One of the many pages of definitions that really are so different from our own of today. However, many will be recognised. Such as fart, gently described as a wind from behind. Walker's Dictionary was not know as a great dictionary. It was just an early one, specially in the United States where much was lacking in the world of books. Many of the great books were printed in Europe. By the start of the 19th century that was all starting to change. This is one of the books of the transition. Part European, part American. It was the end of an era. Soon everything about the American form of English would change and books like this would be relegated to the shelves and forgotten. As fortune would have it this copy was spared for another day's eyes to enjoy it.