Henry Livingston, Jr.
Witness Letters



Office of "The Signal,"
A Local Paper for Live People Independent in Politics
Impartial in Religion "Square" in Business

Proprietors and Editors.

Babylon, N.Y., Jan. 10, 1900

Cornelia G. Goodrich

Dear Friend:

I was surprised and pleased to receive your letter, written (or at least postmarked) Jan 3, 1900.

The question of the authorship of the poem "The Night Before Christmas" was never brought up, to my knowledge, until after 1862, when it was published and credited to Clement C. Moore. Moore was then a very old man, and died the same year. It does not appear, however, that he ever laid claim to the authorship, and it is said he was displeased at first when it was attributed to him!

My father, (Sidney Montgomery) as long ago as I can remember, claimed that his father (Henry, Jr.) was the author: that it was first read to the children at the old homestead below Poughkeepsie, when he was about eight years old, which would be about 1804, or 1805. He had the original manuscript, with many corrections in his possession, for a long time, and by him was given to his brother Edwin. Edwin's person effects were destroyed when his sister Susan's home was burned at Kaskaskia, Wis., about 1847 or 8.

I think the poem was first published in the Knickerbocker Magazine early in this century, but whether the author's name was attached or not I do not know. The Magazine is on file in the Astor Library, & some time I mean to hunt it up- If I find it as I expect I will certainly inform you. I thank you most heartily for your kindly letter. Wish you every happiness, I am truly yours,

Henry Livingston

Thomas Collection


Arguments,   Quest to Prove Authorship,   Scholars,   Witness Letters,   Early Variants,   Sources,   Publicity,
First Publication,   Timeline,   Smoking Gun?,   Clement Clark Moore's Poetry,   Fiction,   Letters from You

Xmas,   The Man,   Writing,   History,   The Work,   Illustrations,   Music,   Genealogy,   Biographies,   Locust Grove

Henry's Home

Mary's Home

IME logo Copyright © 2003, InterMedia Enterprises