Noah Webster contracts to buy land in lower Manhattan from Lindley Murray
(20 Dec. 1794)
This document marks a turning point in literary history: Lindley Murray, an American expatriate living in York, England, agreed through agents to sell land in downtown New York City to Noah Webster. In the six months following, Murray wrote the book that would earn him the moniker “the father of English grammar”—ultimately selling 15.5 million copies of his literacy books. Eclipsed in grammar, Webster soon turned primarily to lexicography. Biographers have been unaware of this link between the men. Never before has this document been displayed with an understanding of its significance.