Lot #489
[Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]: Joseph Emerson Worcester Autograph Letter Signed

A dictionary for Longfellow—"Such a manual may be of little or no use to you, but I hope it may be found not wholly unfit for the uses for which it is designed"
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Estimate: $100+

Description

A dictionary for Longfellow—"Such a manual may be of little or no use to you, but I hope it may be found not wholly unfit for the uses for which it is designed"

American lexicographer (1784-1865) who was the chief competitor to Noah Webster of Webster's Dictionary in the mid-nineteenth-century. Their rivalry became known as the ‘dictionary wars.’ Worcester's dictionaries focused on traditional pronunciation and spelling, unlike Noah Webster's attempts to Americanize words. Worcester was respected by American writers and his dictionary maintained a strong hold on the American marketplace until a later, posthumous version of Webster's book appeared in 1864. ALS signed “J. E. Worcester,” one page, 4.5 x 7, September 29, 1855. Addressed from Cambridge, Massachusetts, a handwritten letter to revered poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in full: "I do myself the pleasure to ask you to accept a copy of a small Dictionary. Such a manual may be of little or no use to you, but I hope it may be found not wholly unfit for the uses for which it is designed. With great respect and regard, yours truly." In fine condition, with a small piece of old tape along the upper left edge. In the early 1840s, Worcester rented out the Craigie House in Cambridge and subleased rooms to Longfellow. In 1843, after the house was purchased by Nathan Appleton on Longfellow's behalf, Worcester rented a portion of the house from Longfellow until the construction of his own home a few doors down was completed that spring.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Ft. Sports Cards
  • Dates: #629 - Ended February 09, 2022