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Dexter, Timothy (1747-1806).

merchant, humorist. Born in Malden, Massachusetts, Dexter made a fortune through unusual business deals that included buying up apparently worthless Continental currency (later redeemed), selling warming pans in the West Indies, and trading in whalebone. Describing himself as First in the East, First in the West, and Greatest Philosopher of All the Known World, he built an eccentric mansion in Newburyport and left a charity bequest to the city. Much of his story he tells in A Pickle for the Knowing Ones, or Plain Truths in a Homespun Dress (1802) in a style enlivened by idiosyncratic spelling and without punctuation. In a second edition (1805) he includes a page of stops--periods, commas, etc.--for those who love punctuation and tells them to "peper and solt as they plese." John P. Marquand wrote a life of Dexter (1925) and revised it in 1960.

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Publication:Benet's Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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