The Night Before Christmas.

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The Night Before Christmas:

A Descriptive Bibliography of Clement Clarke Moore's Immortal Poem

by Nancy H. Marshall.


New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2000, 1st edition; red cloth boards, dark green endpapers, 144 colour illustrations on glossy paper and 80 b/w illustrations in text; in green jacket with reproductions of editions of the poem on the front; 8x10"; 280 pp.

Drawing from her own collection of about 800 versions of the poem, in books and ephemera, as well as 200 books examined, Nancy Marshall has compiled an authoritative, comprehensive bibliography. Her lifelong collecting passion for this single poem coupled with her skills as a librarian make this book both interesting and extremely well-organized.

The beginning chapters, 47 pages, deal with the historical background of the poem, which first appeared in print in 1823,  and its many subsequent publications. These are followed by a table of publication milestones and and tabulation of entries by decade of publication, then by statements of conventions, sorting order and sources. There follows a clear introduction to the scope and organization of the bibiliography and an explanation of the entry. There are tantalizing asides: Did you know that later illustrations stress the more active parts of the poem, especially entering and leaving the chimney? However, the central purpose of the book is the bibliography: 1001 entries, invaluable for identification.

The Descriptive Bibliography is followed by:

  • a bibliography of Clement Clarke Moore's other works.
  • Selective Sources consulted.
  • Indexes
  •   Author, Editor, and Compiler Index.
  • Format Index.
  • General Index.
  • Illustrator, Artist, Engraver, Designer, and Typographer Index
  • Publisher and Printer Index
  • Series Index
  • Title Index.
  • A Colophon.