Order now! Dunder and Blixem! Order now!

Meet Henry Livingston,
identified by literary detective Don Foster
as the real author of
The Night Before Christmas,
and enjoy points of view as fresh as new fall'n snow
and as sweet as sugar plums.

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Dunder and Blixem!
It's Henry Livingston!

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
vintage illustrations,
with selected writings of
Henry Livingston, Jr. of Poughkeepsie

Mary S. Van Deusen,

Foreword by Don Foster

Locust Grove
The Samuel Morse Historic Site
Poughkeepsie NY

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Dunder and Blixem! It's Henry Livingston!
is the first book of Henry's life and writing.

Softcover, with color front and back covers,
15 interior two-page spreads of
vintage illustrations of the Christmas poem
and writings of Henry Livingston,
with 17 pages of text and notes.

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The visions of sugar plums conjured up by the famous Christmas poem, A Visit From St. Nicholas, have inspired generations of artists to turn those sweet dreams into even richer imagery for children of all ages. In Dunder and Blixem! It's Henry Livingston! you'll find illustrations by artists from mid 19th century, political cartoonist Thomas Nast, to early 20th century's Margaret Evans Price's clean-lined work.

One example of a person's writing seldom stands in isolation from their other work and that's true, as well, for Henry Livingston, identified by literary sleuth Don Foster in his book Author Unknown as the actual author of the St. Nicholas poem. Echos of favorite phrases and turns of speech from the Christmas poem can be found in Henry's work as early as 1773, when he wishes his future wife Sally a Happy Christmas, a phrase that won't appear in print until 1823, when the Christmas poem first appears in the Troy Sentinel. In 1787, Henry describes his sister's reputation as having the purity of new fallen snow. Sleighs move in a clutter and verses proclaim themselves full of clatter, while eccentric aunts are affectionately confessed to be poor creatures. And never should there be a belly that doesn't march with its rhyming jelly.

Henry's repetitions race with enthusiasm as much in And happy - thrice happy! Too happy! the swain as in the familiar Now dash away! dash away! dash away all! And the New York Dutch influence is as obvious in the use of Mama, the term of choice for Dutchmen such as Governor George Clinton, as in the better known phrase for thunder and lightning, Dunder and Blixem.

Although Henry wrote in a multitude of styles and voices, at least a third of his poems evoke strong memories of A Visit From St. Nicholas in their rhythm, and many of these are included in this volume.

But hark what a clatter! the jolly bells ringing,
The lads and the lasses so jovially singing,
Tis New-Years they shout and then haul me along
In the midst of their merry-make juvenile throng;

A brief description of Henry Livingston and his family, the story of the quest to prove his authorship, as well as new authorship proofs discovered after the publication of Author Unknown, introduce fifteen vintage illustrations with associated writings by this Poughkeepsie poet.

Santa and sleigh

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The Samuel Morse Historic Site
2683 South Road
Poughkeepsie NY 12601

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