A Bicentennial Celebration of the Poem by Clement Clarke Moore
BA, University of Manitoba
Author, Publisher, Historian
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
On a snowy Winter’s day, Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863), a Columbia graduate, composed A Visit from St. Nicholas which he read to his children on Christmas Eve, 1822. For over two hundred years children and adults alike have been enchanted by this classic poem. The visions of sugar plums, stockings hung by the chimney, a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer and of course, St. Nick - with his twinkling eyes and cheeks like roses with a nose like a cherry, he was chubby and plump and looked like an elf - have captured the imagination of people all over the world.
Join us for a lively and informative presentation as Pamela McColl, historian and the author of ’Twas the Night: The Art and History of the Classic Christmas Poem traces the evolution of the holiday, from which Moore’s literary work derives, from antiquity and the celebration of Saturnalia. She then discusses the two centuries of winter cultural traditions, as well as elements from religious and secular influences, in the creation of the poem. McColl uses dozens of vintage illustrations from the thousands of editions published over the years as well as archival material from the Columbia University Archives. She explores the influence of Washington Irving and the historic figure of St. Nicholas on Moore’s conception of the central figure of his holiday poem and considers how many of today’s characteristics of Santa Claus originated with Clement Moore.
Time will be allocated for Q&A.
Clement Clarke Moore will be inducted into the NYS Writers Hall of Fame at the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan on December 19, 2023. The induction is part of the bicentennial of the publication of the poem A Visit from St. Nicolas. For additional information please contact HERE.
Pamela McColl is an award-winning author and publisher and lecturer. After studying art and history at the University of Manitoba, McColl worked for 25 years as a corporate art consultant. In the 1990’s she formed a publishing company devoted to bringing books of social and historical significance to the public including Pacific Spirit: The Forest Reborn which Frank Murkowski, a United States Senator and Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources called “one of the most important works on forest management in recent years”. Among her other publications is On Marijuana - a compilation of essays and articles that examine the impact of cannabis on children and communities. McColl is also a director on the advisory council of a national non-profit, Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada.
In 2012 she published the delightful ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century. It was hailed as the first “smoke-free” edition of the poem since McColl omitted the image of Santa smoking a pipe with a ring of smoke over his head. This publication created a media sensation and was covered in the United States by The Colbert Report, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, The View, Vanity Fair.com, Fox News, and The Huffington Post as well as other news outlets. In Canada and abroad the book was covered by the BBC News, The Current CBC, The Globe and Mail, CTV News Station, The Edmonton Journal, News Track India, The London Telegraph, The Guardian, Australia's Brisbane Times, and many others. The 2012 publication ranked a best-selling book by Amazon.com in the category of American 20th. century poetry. The book won the Global Ebook Best Christian Book of 2012, A Gold Medal Best Holiday Book for the Moonbeam Children's Book awards, and four Benjamin Franklin book awards for 2013.
McColl’s latest publishing endeavor is the ’Twas the Night: The Art and History of the Classic Christmas Poem, the subject of this presentation.