Part one. Noah Webster's battles. British mockery and American disdain ; Noah Webster: "The wildest innovator" ; Webster's first dictionary ; Displacing Delilah ; The lexicographer's fifth column ; Tea and copyright: Goodrich takes over ; Spelling wars: the rise of Lyman Cobb ; The "common thief" ; Webster's decline
Part two. The Merriams at war. Taking Webster out of Webster: from family feuds to the Merriam Brothers ; Waiting for Worcester ; The Bohn affair ; Converse's complaint ; Children, money, and "trash" ; High stakes: "Have we a national standard of language?" ; The "terrible rival": Worcesterian resurgence ; The Merriams triumphant: "Worcester! Worcester! all change for Webster!"
Appendix A: The "Webster" brand
Appendix B: Four centuries of selected dictionaries of the English language
Appendix C: Publishing terms
Appendix D: "The spelling bee at Angels (reported by Truthful James)," by Bret Harte.