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Christmas in July: Clement Clark Moore in the Village

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["Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse"], Digital ID 1704169, New York Public Library["Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse"], Digital ID 1704169, New York Public LibraryClement Clark Moore is credited with writing one of the most famous poems in the world, "Twas the Night Before Christmas," also known as "A Visit from St. Nickolas."

This poem was first published anonymously in 1823, and was not attributed to Clement Moore until it was included in an 1844 anthology of Moore's poems. Moore wrote it for his children and at their insistence he included it in this edition. Moore, however, was generally more serious minded than this poem and apparently wanted to distance himself from it. He certainly didn't need the royalties from the poem to pay his bills.

For Moore was one of New York's early real estate moguls. He owned a vast estate which he called Chelsea. He divided it up, sold lots, and a neighborhood was born.

Moore did give back to the community. He helped establish a Village institution, St. Luke's in the Fields on Hudson Street (back when it was surrounded by fields) and gave the land for the General Theological Seminary between Ninth and Tenth Avenues at 20th Street. Moore lived at one time at 487 Hudson Street and July 15 is his birthday.

So, salute to the man who gave us St. Nick!

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