News From Terre Haute, Indiana

History

December 2, 2012

HISTORICAL TREASURE: The evolution of jolly old St. Nick

The idea of Santa Claus has existed for hundreds of years. Causing confusion is the fact that this beloved visitor has appeared through the years in numerous forms and with different names.

In England, he is called Father Christmas. In France, he is Pere Noel. Kris Kringle is native to Germany. Dutch children call him Sinterklaas. But the Santa Claus that American children know and love today was born in New York City on Dec. 24, 1822. It was on that day that Clement Clark Moore wrote the famous words “The Night Before Christmas” as a Christmas gift to his children. The poem first appeared in book form in 1848 with drawings by T.C. Boyd.

 It was in America that Santa put on weight. The original St. Nicholas had been a tall, slender, elegant bishop, which was the image perpetuated for centuries. The rosy-cheeked, roly-poly Santa is credited to the influential 19th century cartoonist, Thomas Nast, who created a series of Christmas drawings for Harper’s Weekly. These drawings, executed over 20 years, exhibit a gradual change from the diminutive, elf-like creature of Dr. Moore’s poem to the bearded, potbellied figure seen across America today.

 Pictured is the earliest Santa in the Historical Museum’s collection. He was roly-poly, dated from the turn of the century, made of papier mâché, hand-painted, and came from the home of John Biel. There is no trademark on this Santa, so it may have been made in the United States or Germany. It is currently on display in the window of the museum’s toy shop on the second floor.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
History
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later New Tactic Deployed in Search for Plane Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Scott Brown Announces Run for U.S. Senate in N.H Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions Police: Blast in Nigerian Capital Kills 71
NDN Video
8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Toddler climbs into vending machine Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America Applicants Vying for 'World's Toughest Job' Get Heartwarming Surprise Awkward: Crist catches Lt. Gov. insulting him on camera NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse US Airways Tweets Graphic Photo of Nude Woman Behind the scenes of the Marathon anniversary photo shoot American Airlines Responds After Girl Tweets Alleged Terror Threat 'Joke' Charlie White's "Dancing" Mistake Olympic Great & Baltimore Native Michael Phelps Ends Retirement; Eyes Rio 2014 NFL Draft: Potential Booms And Busts William and Kate Squash Baby No. 2 Rumors With a Wine-Tasting Trip Who Showed Up at Coachella?
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity