Twas The Night – The Art and History of the Classic Christmas Poem is the first cultural history to be published of the highly-celebrated poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, also known as Twas The Night Before Christmas.
The artwork and literary references presented in this publication were selected to demonstrate the way in which “The Poet of Christmas Eve” drew upon two centuries of winter cultural traditions and customs, as well as elements from the spiritual and secular sectors, in the creation of the work. Dozens of vintage illustrations were carefully chosen for this publication from the thousands of editions published over years, along with examples of works by both commercial illustrators and fine artist who were drawn to the poem's enchanting imagery.
Over two hundred images are presented in the book including artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith, N.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, N.C. Wyeth, F.O.C. Darley, and the incomparable Thomas Nast. In 2022 and 2023 the poem marks two bi-centennial milestones; first read aloud by Clement Clarke Moore of New York on Christmas Eve 1822, with its print debut appearing in the Troy Sentinel newspapers of Troy, New York for December 23, 1823.
The poem has been referred to as: “ a little masterpiece of juvenile fiction” “one of the best poems for children ever written,” “the most-published, most-read, most-memorized, and most-collected book in all of Christmas literature.” This book is a celebration of the poem's brilliance and its phenomenon and enduring popularity.