Webster's Blue-Backed Speller

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WEBSTER'S BLUE-BACKED SPELLER is the popular name, derived from the blue paper covers, of Noah Webster's Elementary Spelling Book, published continuously since 1783 under several titles. Nearly 100 million copies have been printed; perhaps only the Bible has been more widely circulated in the United States. Webster, a nationalist, intended this book, eventually in conjunction with his dictionary, to develop an American form of English, with its own standard of spelling and pronunciation. He was largely successful in this effort, and the United States owes much of its linguistic uniformity to Webster's spelling book and dictionary.


Monaghan, E. Jennifer. A Common Heritage: Noah Webster's Blue-Backed Speller. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1983.

Snyder, K. Alan. Defining Noah Webster: Mind and Morals in the Early Republic. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1990.

Harry R.Warfel/s. b.

See alsoCurriculum ; Dictionaries ; Education ; Literature: Children's ; McGuffey's Readers .

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Webster's Blue-Backed Speller

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