To Joseph Emerson Worcester

6 October 1855


[MS in Massachusetts Historical Society.]


Oberlin O. 6th Oct 1855.

J. E. Worcester L.L.D.

My Dear Sir.

I have recd your note

of the 1st inst. together with a

copy of your Dictionary. I am

much obliged by this kindness.

I have examined your dictionary

in respect to those things in which

all others are, in my estimation,

deficient, & am of opinion that

for the English reader, this work

will meet the wants of the Amer

ican people, far better than any

thing hitherto published. Within

the last quarter of a century, many

foreign words have come into common

use, especially in our periodical

literature, the signification of which

few English readers understand.

The advance of science in all its

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departments is also brin[g]ing before

the common reader many terms

& phrases not generally understood.

Our youth went in vain to the

English or American Dictionaries

for the definition of those words

& phrases. Our language is consta

ntly receiving additions from about

every language of Europe. Besides

many foreign terms & phrases not

understood in this country, because

of their origin. Many obsolete

terms are coming again into

use. We hardly take up a news

paper, & seldom a quarterly,

without finding something to puzzle

the English readers, no explanation

of which is found in our standard

dictionaries. This want has pressed

more heavily upon the reading publick

from year to year. I have looked

over the pages of your work & have

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been pleased to find nearly every

thing of the kind I refer to that

could be desired. It is a timely

& highly important work. It is needed

in nearly every family & will be

much valued by the readers of

the present day. That it may have

the circulation it deserves is my

earnest wish. Yours truly

C. G. Finney.


Joseph Emerson Worcester, A Pronouncing Explanatory Dictionary of the English Language (Boston: Hickling, Swan and Brown, 1855).