Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

The Westfield Athenaeum Presents Author Joshua Kendall

The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster’s Obsession and Creation of an American Culture

On May 4 at 7:00 p.m., historian Joshua Kendall will talk about his book The Forgotten Founding Father: Noah Webster’s Obsession and Creation of an American Culture, at the Westfield Athenaeum, as part of its Spring Lecture Series. According to Kendall, Noah Webster (1758 – 1843) was more than just America’s greatest lexicographer. He was also a Founding Father who helped define American culture. In 1783, he published the first edition of his legendary spelling book, which would teach five generations of Americans how to read. A dedicated public servant, he served as a state representative from both Connecticut and Massachusetts. He was also a founder of Amherst College and was an early president of the college’s Board of Trustees. The first edition of his American of the English Language was published in 1828. Noted historian Joseph J. Ellis calls The Forgotten Founding Father “the best, and best written, life of Webster. Kendall makes a convincing case that Webster invented American nationalism long before the American nation came into existence.” Signed copies of the book will be for sale following the talk. 

Joshua Kendall was born in New York City.  He received his BA (summa cum laude) from Yale where he studied comparative literature.  He also did graduate work in comparative literature at Johns Hopkins.  For his excellence in reporting on psychiatry, he has received national journalism awards from both the National Mental Health Association (now Mental Health America) and the American Psychoanalytic Association.  He is currently an Associate Fellow of Yale’s Trumbull College.

The Lecture Series is supported in part by the Friends of the Westfield Athenaeum and is free and open to the public. For more information, visit or call the Athenaeum at 413-562-0716.

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