170 Old-time Schools and School-books
When Mary Lyon was starting her famous school for girls at South Hadley, President Hitchcock of Amherst proposed she should call it " The Pangy-naskian Seminary"; but she, wiser than Noah Webster in this matter, did not accept the suggestion, although the meaning of the name — that the whole woman was to be put to school — was exceedingly appropriate.
For a score of years Webster's spelling-book bore the ponderous title conferred on it, and yet survived. Then he changed the name to The American-Spelling-book, and still later to The Elementary Spelling-book. From almost the very first it took the leading place among books of its class and kept that place for many decades. Webster, in a general way, compiled his book on the plan of Dilworth's, the most popular English speller of the century ; but radical divergencies were not lacking, for he aspired to reform the language and simplify the spelling. Hitherto the spelling in the different text-books had been far from uniform ; and in letters, records, and other manuscripts of the time there was a curious variety in word construction. Even men of high education often spelled the same word in several different ways; but Webster presently became the American standard and brought order out of chaos. He did not accomplish all that he at first planned in the way of reform, but some of his innovations, like the treatment of tion and sion as single syllables instead of two, as had formerly been the custom, found permanent acceptance, and he did very effective work in counteracting vulgarisms in pronunciation.