Documents that Changed the Way We Live: Webster’s Dictionary

Sponsored by Rowman & LIttlefield

Recorded on 10/09/2017
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 11

Documents That Changed the Way We Live book cover. Photograph of museum with dark red ceiling, white walls with columns and two large paintings. Crowds of people below the paintings. Book title at the top over the red ceiling.

In this second episode of our 4-part series with Joe Janes, author of Documents That Changed the Way We Live, we dig into Webster’s Dictionary. Joe illuminates how Noah Webster set out to make a uniquely American dictionary that attempted to capture the identity of a still emerging country. We’ll also learn a little bit about Noah himself and how the dictionary’s contemporary version, Merriam-Webster, has become a darling of social media.

Buy it here.

(Use promo code JOEJANES to save 30% off the cover price.)


About the guest:

Joe Janes is a frequent speaker in the US and abroad. He is the author of several books, including Documents That Changed the Way We Live, and Library 2020, and has written a monthly column for American Libraries magazine since 2002. He holds the M.L.S. and Ph.D. from Syracuse University, and has taught at the University of Michigan, the University of Toronto, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the State University of New York at Albany as well as at Syracuse and Washington.


Listen to the rest of the series:


About the Music:
The intro and outro music in Authority File is “Grapes,” mixed by I dunno. The transition music is “Peace ( There’s A better Way ),” mixed by Loveshadow. The music is available on ccMixter, and is used under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (cc-by 4.0).