“THAT’S WHY WHENEVER IT’S FOGGY AND GRAY, IT’S RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSE WHO GUIDES SANTA’S SLEIGH”MAY, Robert L.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
No place: Montgomery Ward, 1939.
Small quarto, original pictorial paper wrappers. $1800.First edition of the very first appearance of this beloved Christmas character, written exclusively for Montgomery Ward by Robert May, with 41 illustrations by Denver Gillen.
Montgomery Ward and Company asked Robert May, a copywriter on its advertising staff, to write a booklet of Christmas verses as a premium for children to take home after visiting the department store’s Santa Claus. May produced Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
, an endearing take on the familiar “ugly duckling” theme, written in verse that mimics “The Night Before Christmas.” The booklet, delightfully illustrated by Chicago-based artist Denver Gillen, proved so popular that Montgomery Ward continued to publish it until 1946. May subsequently sent a copy of Rudolph
to his friend, songwriter Johnny Marks, who wrote the tune Gene Autry made famous. First state,
with elves loading Santa’s sleigh on page  and with tri-motor airplane in illustration on page , later changed to four-motor plane.Only slight offsetting of illustrations to text, minor staining to interior of wrappers, only minor rubbing mainly to extremities. A lovely copy in near-fine condition.