A Visit from St. Nicholas

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Versions of
A Visit from St. Nicholas

generally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore; possibly by Henry Beekman Livingston

The poem "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas", also known as "The Night Before Christmas" from its first line, and first published in 1823, is largely responsible for the contemporary American conception of Santa Claus, including his appearance, the night he visits, his method of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, and that he brings toys to children. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably.

The poem was published anonymously in 1823 by the Troy Sentinel. It was first attributed to Clement Clarke Moore in 1837 by Charles Fenno Hoffman in The New York Book of Poetry. Moore himself first claimed authorship in his 1844 book Poems. Circa 1860, the family of Major Henry Livingston, Jr. (1748–1828) discovered the claims of Moore's authorship, but waited until after Moore's death to publicly argue that Livingston had first composed the poem circa 1807.

The last two reindeer names were Dunder and Blixem when the poem was first published anonymously on December 23, 1823.[1] The editor of the 1825 McClure Almanac was the first to change Blixem to Blixen.[2] When Moore later published the work as his own (Poems, 1844), the names were spelled Donder and Blitzen. [3] In a number of later reprintings, Dunder/Donder's name is further simplified to Donner.[4]

Excerpted from A Visit from St. Nicholas on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Versions of A Visit from St. Nicholas include:
Manuscript of the poem, by Clement Moore


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.