Henry Livingston, Jr.
Witness Letters



October 28th, 1920

My dear Cousin Will-

Now I have received your second letter. I am sorry your first one has not been answered sooner. But I have been trying to find the book I said I would send you, and I can not find it.

Last spring when I moved out of my apartment, I gave nearly all my books to a friend, who lives in a little town where they wanted to start a circulating librry. I was so sick at the time, that this little book may have gone with the others, and I not know it. And again, I may find it among my things here. I am boarding, with trunks stored in the attic.

I have an old book with Uncle Edwin and Aunt Helens names in it. I will send you that, though you may not care much for it. I have an old decanter that belonged to grandfather Livingston. It is not large. And of white glass. I will send you that, as soon as I can get a small wooden box to put it in.

Our house burned in 1854. I never heard of any trunk that belonged to my Uncle, that burned. Though I know mother had writings of her fathers that burned.

Mother always said she knew nothing about it. Whether her father wrote "The Night before Christmas" or not. Only she said it was just his style of writing. I never heard of - or saw, any paper with it in, that Uncle Charles had. And if there had been such a paper I feel sure Cousin Jeannie Hubbard would have had it. And I would have seen it. She often talked about this. And said her father, Uncle Charles, believed his father wrote it. Said he could remember when a boy, his father reading it to the family, with the ink yet wet on the paper.

But I think it very hard to prove as there is no one now living who knows anything about it.

Jean Denig has always been greatly interested. And she thinks it was Grand Father, instead of Clement C. Moore, who wrote it. I feel that we, the family, can think what we please about it. But I fear Mr. Moore will have to have the credit. Though I am just as sorry as you are about it.

I am delighted to hear of dear Cousin Gertie being so well. And bright and cheery as of old. She is a wonder. And how dearly we all love her.

I never heard of the original manuscript of the Christmas poem. What Uncle Charles remembered was in Grand Father's writing. [She must mean published version, not MSS]

Affectionately, your Cousin
Jeanie L. Gurney

Thomas Collection


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