Oct 22, 2015 - Sale 2394

Sale 2394 - Lot 361

Price Realized: $ 6,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 5,000 - $ 7,500
LEAF FROM HIS AMERICAN ENGLISH DICTIONARY WEBSTER, NOAH. Autograph Manuscript, unsigned, fragment from the first edition of his An American Dictionary of the English Language, distinguishing six meanings for the preposition 'behind', and on the verso, 14 lines defining and providing examples for the adjective 'behindhand'. 2 pages, oblong 8vo, written on the recto and verso of a single sheet; folds; cloth chemise. (MRS) Np, [before 1828]

Additional Details

Concerning 'behindhand', Webster writes a comment: "This word is really an adjective, as it is applied to the person, rather than to the verb; but . . . [it] never precedes the noun.
"Shakespeare's 'behind hand slackness' therefore, according to present usage, is not a legitimate phrase."
With the exception of a small number of leaves, the original manuscript of Webster's first edition of An American Dictionary is housed at the Morgan Library (see Cahoon, Lange, Ryskamp, American Literary Autographs, 1977, no.1).
On December 19, 1986, Christie's New York sold a leaf from the first edition of An American Dictionary on which Webster wrote definitions of the adverb 'behind'; the present lot concerns the preposition.