WEBSTER, NOAH. 1758-1843.
Autograph Manuscript, 1 p, 4to, n.p'. [before 1828], from Webster's An American Dictionary, slight browning to edges, a few tiny chips and miniscule tear to one edge, faint white ovular mark at right margin.
Provenance: Harriet Webster Fowler Lyman (grand-daughter of Webster); Mary Elihu Lyman (sister-in-law to Harriet Lyman); anonymous owner, Christie's, June 8, 1990, lot 197.
A MANUSCRIPT LEAF IN WEBSTER'S HAND FOR THE FIRST EDITION OF HIS SEMINAL AN AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE (NEW HAVEN, 1828). The page features definitions for twelve words: Bestain, Bestew, Bestial, Bestiality, Bestially, Bestick, Bestuck, Bestir, Bestirred, Bestirring, Bestness and Bestorm. There are three corrections to the page, and several of the definitions are illustrated with quotes from Milton. The crisp clarity of Webster's definition for Bestir demonstrates why his name would eventually become synonymous with "dictionary": "To put into brisk or vigorous action; to move with life and vigor; especially with the reciprocal pronoun: 'Rise and bestir yourselves.'"