Denslow's Night Before Christmas

Clement C. MOORE   |   William Wallace DENSLOW

Item#: 126828 We're sorry, this item has been sold

Denslow's Night Before Christmas
Denslow's Night Before Christmas


DENSLOW, William Wallace. Denslow's Night Before Christmas. New York: G.W. Dillingham, 1902. Slim quarto, original gray cloth, mounted cover illustration, pictorial endpapers.

First edition by the illustrator of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, of this cherished Yuletide poem, with numerous full-page color plates. A lovely copy.

The anonymous poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas," later attributed to the Rev. Clement Moore, first appeared in 1823 in the Troy Sentinel, marking "a division between the Puritan antipathy toward Christmas and acceptance of the holiday" (Chronology of American Literature). This edition boasts numerous illustrations, many full-page and in color, by onetime newspaper cartoonist and poster designer William Wallace Denslow, perhaps best known for his work on L. Frank Baum's Father Goose (1899) and especially The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). His "conceptions of the characters and landscapes," Denslow thought, "contributed immeasurably to the book's popularity" (Fricke, 22). In 1902, Denslow turned his attention to Moore's famous Christmas poem, which became an enormous best-seller that season. With the considerable profits from his illustrated books, "he bought a small island in Bermuda, built a 'castle' on it, and crowned himself King Denslow I of Denslow Island" (Michael Patrick Hearn). Binding in second state (cloth rather than boards). Owner ink signature, dated Christmas 1906.

Short closed tear to lower margin of half title. A touch of rubbing to spine ends. A lovely, near-fine copy, scarce in this condition.

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