Jeanne Denig
WS Thomas



The Bellevue-Stratford
March 14 - 1917

Dear Cousin:-

I once heard a legend that a young lady - either a guest or a sort of governess - was in the Livingston family, and upon leaving she took with her a copy of "The Night Before Christmas" & it was thus introduced to the Moores.

I heard that the poem was first published in a Poughkeepsie newspaper - the plant of which was subsequently burned.

Curious there should be the legend of the young lady carrying the verses from both the Livingston & Moore house!

Surely there was a woman at the bottom of it! It is claimed that Moore wrote the verses in 1822, & not until 1844 did he publish it in a small volume of poems for children.

In 1859 a paper covered edition of it was put upon the market & it was then grandmother Livingston saw it & was indignant that it was not attributed to its author, Henry Livingston! I would like to get the volume of Dr. Moore's poem published in 1844.

Can you trace any friendship between the Butler family of Troy & the Livingstons of Poughkeepsie? Dr. Butler was the rector of St. Paul's church in Troy - Episcopal. The Moores were Episcopalians. William S. Pelletreau states that a Miss Butler of Troy was visiting the Moore family, saw the verses & copied them in her "album". She sent the verses to the Editor of the Troy Sentinel in December 1823, and it was printed without the author's name. He, Pelletreau, must have proof that the verses were actually printed in the Troy Sentinel Dec 23rd 1823 without the name of the author appearing.

Commodore has tried in various Philadelphia libraries to find a copy of Dr. Moore's verses published in 1844 but without success. I expect you can find it in New York.

No one from the Beyond comes to tell us! I am sure my mother would if she could. She was always interested in the subject - both subjects - "Night Before Xmas" and the return of the departed.

If I can remember any more xx you I will send it along.

It was always maintained in the Livingston family that Henry Livingston wrote verses. Are there any existing to prove it?

I have at home a little verse upon the death of a child, said to have been written by him. Also one written by my grandfather on the same subject - emotional. Great grandfather Livingston was twice married. You & I are descended from the second wife. The Morses & Goodriches from the first wife. Have they any poems of his? You know Nellie Goodrich tried to prove he wrote the Xmas poem, but gave it up for lack of proof.

I think Miss Butler of Troy was a very indiscreet young lady to publish another's poem without permission. Mr. Pelletreau says she did so & Dr. Moore did not like it a bit! It was not until 1862 that Dr. Moore gave an autograph copy of the verses, now preserved by the New York Historical Society.


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