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  Did Clement Moore Steal "The Night Before Christmas"?
Books
Posted by Jack Mingo on 2000/10/26 18:22:44 GMT-4

Here's an interesting article from the New York Times detailing circumstantial evidence that Clement Moore didn't write the "Twas the night before Christmas" poem that firmly fixed the American view of Santa Claus we hold today. Who did? (No, it wasn't Francis Bacon.) Writes David Kirkpatrick:"In a new book, "Author Unknown," (Henry Holt & Company) Mr. Foster argues that "A Visit From St. Nicholas," first published anonymously in a Troy, N.Y., newspaper in 1823, closely matches the views and verse of Henry Livingston Jr., a gentleman-poet of Dutch descent. Livingston, who lived in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., died before Moore was ever named as the poem's author."

According to Livingstone's descendents, he wrote the poem; author Foster delineates pretty convincingly that the poem mirrors Livingstone's nationality, personality, writing style, and viewpoint much more than Moore's. Moreover, Moore waited 20 years before claiming credit...but not before asking the poem's publisher if anybody else had stepped forward to claim credit.

Unfortunately, the article gives plenty of clues, but finds no smoking gun to definitively nail the issue down. So this may be forever open, like the controversy about who wrote Shakespeare or "Mary Had a Little Lamb.

I dunno, what do y'all think?

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/26/arts/26NIGH.html

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Re: Did Clement Moore Steal "The Night Before Christmas"?
by Gus Heavy on 2000/11/30 11:34:42 US/Eastern

The guy who figured this one out also once figured out the true identities of the author of Primary Colors and the Wanda Tinasky letters (once erroneously attributed to Thomas Pynchon). The book looks good, maybe I'll track it down and convince someone to buy it for me for the holidays.

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Re: Did Clement Moore Steal "The Night Before Christmas"?
by henry teller on 2005/12/23 10:41:01 US/Eastern

Major Henry Livingstone was an ancestor of mine. You will find that Clement Moore , when he 'wrote' the Night Before Christmas' included the typos of the Troy newspaper, i.e. Donner and Blitzen, should have been Dundher und Blitzen..Since these were Dutch words, the paper wasn't sure of the spelling, but Moore did manage to include the misspellings in his version of the poem. There is a long history of Livingstone descendants remembering this poem coming from the Major...

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