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All the Words
The Maundy Monday Newsletter - This Week in History April 10 - 16.
Monday is here, and I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.
Eleven words in the first sentence to begin today’s Maundy Morning Newsletter, and words are the theme of this week’s edition.
I love words. I also love your support of my words here at Okay History.
Okay History. Two words have so many different meanings.
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Earlier this year, I began a series of book reviews appropriately titled, Words, Words, Words. It’s from Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet when some dude asks him what he is reading. I’m a huge Shakespeare guy. I did two plays during my stellar high school and college acting career, and really all lines I said were just words. I had zero idea what I was speaking about at any given time.
I recently came across an interesting newsletter here on Substack called One Word. The writer takes a word, then explores how that word interacts and engages in his life. If you have some time, check it out.
Words were the center of Noah Webster’s life. Born in 1758 to an established family in Connecticut, Webster traced his ancestry on both sides of his family to the colonies’ first governors. His father was a farmer who led the local militia and owned the library. Webster grew up surrounded by words.
Webster would graduate from Yale in 1778, and after failing to land a job in lawyering, he edited spelling books. A staunch supporter of the American Revolution and the Constitution, our main man, Hamilton, recruited Webster to edit a Federalist newspaper. Webster flourished with the platform and accomplished many writing feats, none of which can compare to the weekly stuff I put out here.
Noah’s greatest legacy was to change the English spelling of words and phrases, making them more American. Words like center. Or theater. Or color. Webster might have liked words, but really, he loved the letter “r.”
For two decades, Webster poured over words and their meanings. He published his first dictionary in 1806. A year later, he continued to expand the entries, and for the next twenty years, he refined his work.
On April 14, 1828, Noah Webster patented the dictionary. Published in two volumes with 70,000 words, Webster’s Dictionary originally sold for $20, which is like $500 to you and me. Surprisingly they didn’t take off immediately. The price came down, sales went up, and now I have the dictionary app on my phone.
Okay, let's highlight what else happened this week. Here's what I got:
1. The PROTECT Act was passed on April 10, 2003. Amber Alert received over $20M in federal funding to nationalize the child abduction emergency alert system named after nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was abducted and murdered in 1996.
2. Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743. If you ever make it to Monticello, check out how the third president basically invented Excel spreadsheets in the way he accounted for his building supplies. He kept track of every nail. It’s wild.
3. Two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. Two cowardly brothers planted homemade bombs stuffed into backpacks and placed them near the finish line, killing three people and injuring hundreds more. You can read more about it in the ugly section of my Massachusetts state ranking.
I can’t let this week pass about words without dropping this all-time great song that is More Than Words.
Just let that play in the background. Get ready, Anonymous. I’m singing this to you all day.
We will jump back into the Amendments ranking on Friday this week, but before that, I will have a special announcement on Wednesday. Get ready, especially those who generously support my work financially.
Have a great week, and I’ll see you in two days.