Place and Imprint: Philadelphia: Issued by John M. Wolff, Stationer, [n.d., but circa 1855-60].
Edition: An early broadside edition., and the first separately printed edition that identified Moore as the author.
Bibliographical References: Marshall, The Night Before Christmas, A Descriptive Bibliiography, 25; noted under BAL 14346: "An undated broadside, printed in blue and red, was issued ca. 1842 by John M. Wolff, Philadelphia."
Condition: Tears in the lower margin skillfully repaired; edges slightly worn; very good copy.
Book ID: 28852
Physical DescriptionBroadside, 41 x 28 cm, title and text printed in red and blue within a decorative border with of a leafy-vine motif printed in red, surrounded by a double-line border printed in blue.
CommentsAn attractive broadside edition of Clement Moore's famous poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas, familiarly known as “The Night before Christmas,” printed for Philadelphia stationer John M. Wolff. The imprint on the broadside does not contain a date; BAL and others have speculated that the date was circa 1842; others still, the AAS catalogue record included, suggest a later date based on the dates which Wolff’s business flourished, circa 1851-1865. Another clue as to the date: Wolff sold copies of his broadside to a consortium of newspapers in New York - the New York Times, New York Tribune, New York Herald and the New York World - to use as their annual carrier's address. Of those four papers, the World did not begin publication until 1860. Was their carrier's address a later reprint of Wolff's broadside, or a variant issue, published contemporaneously? The early printings of the legendary poem, beginning in 1823, were published anonymously. It was not until 1844 that the poem was attributed to Moore, when it was included in his collected Poems (NY: Bartlett & Welford). Whatever the date of this broadside printing, the fact that it attributes the poem to “Prof. C. C. Moore” makes it unlikely that it was issued prior to his Poems in 1844. But Nancy Marshall, in her bibliography of editions of the poem (Oaknoll, 2002) also uses the date "ca. 1842" and states "It is believed that this was the first separately printed item that carried Moore's name as the author." She also interestingly states that in 1932 a cache of 70 copies of the broadside were found in Lancaster, PA, and distributed as a holiday greeting by Carl W. Dreppard. More bibliographical work is obviously called for.