Compiled American Dictionary of the English Language (1828), a lexicographical landmark. Like Franklin, he was interested in spelling reform and simplification, and the two corresponded at length on the topic.
B.A., Yale (1778). Admitted to the bar (1781); practiced law (1789-93). His more consistent occupation was teaching. His first spelling book (1782) proved a success, and he turned from the law to the study of the English language in its American version.
Born in West Hartford, Connecticut. Married in 1789 to Rebecca Greenleaf; eight children (one died in infancy).