Skip to main content


Meet the Author: Joshua Kendall, "The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster's Obsession and the Creation of American Culture"

Noah Webster's name is synonymous with the dictionary he created, but his story is not nearly so well known. In The Forgotten Founding Father, Joshua Kendall uncovers Webster's contributions to early American nationalism. Webster hobnobbed with Founding Fathers and was a young confidant of George Washington and Ben Franklin. He started America's first daily newspaper, predating Alexander Hamilton's New York Post. His "blue-backed speller" for schoolchildren sold millions of copies and influenced early copyright law. But perhaps most importantly, Webster ardently supported a unified, definitively American culture and lexicon at a time when the United States of America was anything but unified.

Joshua C. Kendall is an award-winning freelance journalist whose work has appeared in numerous publications including The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, Businessweek, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post.

Recorded Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at the Newberry Library.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.