Clement Clarke Moore

 Credits / Citations

 

b. New York City, NY, July 15, 1779

d. Newport, RI, July 10, 1863

 

After retiring from teaching, the author of "The Night Before Christmas" arrived in Newport in the 1850s.  Moore purchases home and becomes a summer resident. 

 

One of 26 men and women who donate monies for the purchase of land to be known as Touro Park (1865). 

 

Died at Newport home.  The house, #25 Catherine Street, still stands at the southwest corner of Catherine and Greenough Place.  Broken into apartments, the house dates c. 1856 and after. 

 

The house is known by the names  "Cedars,' "Clement C. Moore House," and "The Night Before Christmas House," often incorrectly claimed as site of the composition of Moore’s famous poem.  No truth to the matter, as Moore had not yet begun his Newport days and house was not built when the poem was supposedly written by him in 1822. 

 

Author, educator, poet and noted Hebrew scholar.  Attended Columbia College, as valedictorian received B.A., (1798). 

 

Father, Benjamin Moore, was third president of Columbia College and second Protestant Episcopal Bishop of New York - wanted son to become a priest. 

 

Devoted to the study of Hebrew, Moore produced A Compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew Language In Two Volumes which appeared in 1809. 

 

Married Catharine Elizabeth Taylor on November 20, 1813.  Upon father’s death (1816) inherited large amount of New York property originally owned by Moore’s grandfather Maj. Thomas Clarke - estate known as Chelsea. 

 

Moore’s donation of 60 lots of land in 1819, together with a New York layman’s gift two years later, made possible the establishment and erection of the General Theological Seminary. 

 

Became professor of Biblical Learning and Interpretation of Scripture at the diocesan seminary at New York in 1821.  In 1823 became a professor in the General Theological Seminary, into which the diocesan seminary was merged.  He was professor of Oriental and Greek literature until his resignation in 1850. 

 

Moore wanted to be known for his writing contributions - mainly his Hebrew work.  However, he is associated forever with his poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas, The Night Before Christmas."

 

Various stories have been told concerning the origin.  Supposedly Moore wrote the verse as a present for his six children in 1822.  Somehow a friend, or friend of a friend, transcribed and sent the verse to the Troy (NY) Sentinel.  It appeared in the December 23, 1823, issue.  Appearing many times thereafter in various publications, Moore did not include it in one of his published works until 20 years later (Poems 1844).  

 

 Bibliography

"Died," Newport Mercury, 11 July 1863. 

 

Apseloff, Marilyn F. "Clement C. Moore," Glenn E. Estes. ed. in Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Writers for Children Before 1900.  vol. 42 Detroit: A Bruccoli Clark Book/Gale Research Company, 1985, 276-279. 

 

Dunshee, Kenneth Holcomb.  As You Pass By.   New York: Hasting House, Publishers, 1952. 238-240. 

 

Fosbroke, Hughell E. W.  "Moore, Clement Clarke" in Dictionary of American Biography, vol. 13 New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1934, 118,119. 

 

Gunther-Rosenberg, Avis. "An Abundance of Styles Placed in a Small Area,"  Providence Sunday Journal, 19 October 1997. 

 

Hill, Charles Edwin. ed.  The Historical Register.  New York: Edwin C. Hall, 1922. 58,59. 

 

Hosking, Arthur N. The Night Before Christmas. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1933. 

 

Ketchum, Robert M. "Faces From the Past - XIII," American Heritage 15, no. 1 (December 1963): 53. 

 

Kunitz, Stanley J. and Howard Haycraft. eds.  American Authors 1600-1900. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1938. 538,539. 

 

National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol. 7 James T. White & Company, 1897, 362,363.

 

Rhode Island Historical Preservation Committee. The Kay-Catherine-Old Beach Neighborhood in Newport. 1974. 26, B-3. 

 

Sonne, Niels H. ""The Night Before Christmas": Who Wrote It?" [Reprint from The Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church vol. XLI, no. 4, 373-380]. 

 

Weeks, Lyman Horace. ed.  Prominent Families of New York.  New York: The Historical Company, 1897. 408. 

 

Van Doren, Charles. ed.  Webster’s American Biographies.  Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam Company, 1974. 733.  

 

 

Credits:

Researcher/Writer: Brian Stinson

Project Editors: Lynda Bronaugh, Jennifer K. Caswell, Christian-Albrecht Gollub, Brian Stinson

Funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities

©1997-2004 Redwood Library.  This material may not be reproduced or distributed without permission.

 

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