Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

“Happy Christmas to All and to All a Good Night”

December 19th, 2017

To help celebrate the holidays, we’re sharing Clement Clarke Moore’s poem The Night Before Christmas (originally published in 1823 as A Visit from St. Nicholas) as illustrated by two copies of the text in Spencer’s collections – one from 1896 and the other from the early 1900s. The version of the poem used here comes from a 1920 edition, also in the library’s holdings.

Image of The Night Before Christmas, cover, 1896

The Night Before Christmas, or, A Visit of St. Nicholas
by Clement Clarke Moore, 1896.
Call Number: Children E39. Click image to enlarge.

‘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;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And Mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

Illustration from The Night Before Christmas, circa early 1900s

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore,
undated, circa early 1900s. Call Number: Children E40.
Click image to enlarge.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

Illustration from The Night Before Christmas, 1896

The Night Before Christmas, 1896.
Call Number: Children E39. Click image to enlarge.

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

Illustration from The Night Before Christmas, circa early 1900s

The Night Before Christmas, undated, circa early 1900s.
Call Number: Children E40. Click image to enlarge.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedlar just opening his pack.

Illustration from The Night Before Christmas, 1896

The Night Before Christmas, 1896.
Call Number: Children E39. Click image to enlarge.

His eyes – how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was white as snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and twist of head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

Illustration from The Night Before Christmas, circa early 1900s

The Night Before Christmas, undated, circa early 1900s.
Call Number: Children E40. Click image to enlarge.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team he gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT

Illustration from The Night Before Christmas, 1896

The Night Before Christmas, 1896.
Call Number: Children E39. Click image to enlarge.

Meredith Huff
Public Services

Once Upon a Time…In Spencer

January 26th, 2015

Last week you met Mindy Babarskis, now she highlights some illustrations from one of the volumes in Spencer’s Children’s Books Collection.

Spencer Research Library houses around 7,000 children’s books,  and many of these are folk tales and fairy tales. This immediately brings the Grimm Brothers’ European tales to mind, but did you know that A.L. Grimm also published tales from the Middle East and Asia? Here’s a beautifully bound and illustrated edition of Tales from the Eastern-Land by A.L. Grimm, translated from the German by H.V.

Cover of Tales from the Eastern-Land (1852), featuring an image of a gold Buddha Table of Contents of Grimm's Tales from the Eastern-Land

Gold stamped Buddha image on the front cover and the table of contents (with an old and lonely flower petal) in Spencer Research Library’s copy of A. L. Grimm’s Tales from the Eastern-Land,  Illustrated by J.B. Sonderland. London: H.G. Bohn, 1852. Call Number: Children 6035.  Click images to enlarge.

Illustration of a Djinn from Grimm's Tales from the Eastern-Land.

I bet you’ve never seen a djinn portrayed quite like this; not the friendly big blue spirit depicted by Disney. Illustration by J. B. Sonderland in A. L. Grimm’s Tales from the Eastern-Land, 1852. Call Number: Children 6035.  Click image to enlarge.

Illustration of a fainting woman in Grimm's Tales from the Eastern-Land

It wouldn’t be a book from the 1800’s without a fainting woman. Sadly, she forgot her smelling salts. Tales from the Eastern-Land, 1852. Call Number: Children 6035. Click image to enlarge.

Interesting architecture in an illustration from Tales from the Eastern-Land.

The architectural details in this image are wonderful; take some time and study the background of Sonderland’s illustration. Tales from the Eastern-Land, 1852. Call Number: Children 6035. Click image to enlarge.

Illustration from "The Three Trials" in Tales from the Eastern-Land

Here’s an emotional moment from “The Three Trials” in Tales from the Eastern-Land, 1852. Call Number: Children 6035. Click image to enlarge.

Mindy Babarskis
Public Services Library Assistant