National Dictionary Day by Lois Winston

Noah Webster was born on this day in 1758. If his name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you have one of his dictionaries sitting on a bookshelf. Among his many accomplishments, Webster was an author, editor, lawyer, and political writer. Known as the “Father of American Scholarship and Education”, his Blue-Backed Speller taught generations of American school children to read and spell.

If you’ve ever wondered why English words are often spelled differently in the United States than they are in Great Britain, you have Noah Webster to thank. He disliked the complexity of English spelling rules and streamlined them for American use. Thus, for example, we have “color” instead of “colour.”

As an author, I owe much to Noah Webster. His dictionary sits an arm’s length from my desk, and I use it often. But Webster is also important to authors for another one of his accomplishments. He helped establish the Copyright Act of 1831, which extended copyrights from fourteen to twenty-eight years with an option of renewal for another fourteen years. Today authors have even greater protections, thanks to the Copyright Act of 1976, but Noah Webster got the ball rolling.

Today is also National Dictionary Day, which was established to honor Noah Webster’s most famous contribution. He published his first dictionary in 1806. A year later he began work on a more comprehensive dictionary, which took him twenty-seven years to complete. During this time, he learned twenty-six languages, including Old English and Sanskrit, to help him in his evaluation of the etymology of the seventy thousand words included in this massive endeavor. Twelve thousand of those words had never before appeared in a published dictionary.

So happy birthday, Noah Webster! I couldn’t have written Scrapbook of Murder, my latest Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, without you.

Scrapbook of Murder
An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery, Book 6

Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but normal deserted craft editor Anastasia Pollack’s world nearly a year ago. Now, tripping over dead bodies seems to be the “new normal” for this reluctant amateur sleuth.

When the daughter of a murdered neighbor asks Anastasia to create a family scrapbook from old photographs and memorabilia discovered in a battered suitcase, she agrees—not only out of friendship but also from a sense of guilt over the older woman’s death. However, as Anastasia begins sorting through the contents of the suitcase, she discovers a letter revealing a fifty-year-old secret, one that unearths a long-buried scandal and unleashes a killer. Suddenly Anastasia is back in sleuthing mode as she races to prevent a suitcase full of trouble from leading to more deaths.

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USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog:


Lois Winston said…
Thanks for hosting me today, Marilyn!
I'm always happy to have you visit, this was a great post.
Angela Adams said…
I still have my paperback dictionary from high school! How many years ago was that???? Well, Saturday Night Fever was the "hot" movie (smile!) back then.
Lois Winston said…
LOL, Angela! I bought a new Webster's about 25 years ago. My paperback copy was falling apart. This one is a lot more substantial.

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