Did Clement Moore Steal "The Night Before Christmas"?
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?