The Night Before Christmas: The Nancy H. Marshall Collection of Clement Clark Moore's Immortal Poem

December 1, 2008 to January 13, 2009

Most people today know Moore’s enchanting tale of the mysterious Christmas Eve visitor, St. Nicholas.  Moore, a noted theologian and biblical scholar, wrote this classic more than 180 years ago. Nancy H. Marshall started collecting Clement Clarke Moore’s poem, The Night Before Christmas, over 45 years ago.  At first, she bought inexpensive editions to put in her children’s stockings and decorate her home during the Christmas holiday.  As time passed, her collection became more comprehensive.  She began to take every opportunity to acquire both the rare and scarce early editions and the more contemporary twentieth-century editions.  While in retirement, she continues collecting today. As the number of books and other The Night Before Christmas-related items approached one thousand, Marshall realized that it was perhaps one of the largest collections held in private hands.  She began to think about its final disposition.  Having spent more than a decade as the Dean of University Libraries at the College of William and Mary, she decided to give it to Swem. In 2005, Marshall donated her collection to the Special Collections Research Center in the Swem Library.  Today, students, scholars, and visitors young and old enjoy the many treasures of the Nancy H. Marshall A Visit from St. Nicholas Collection.  A tradition started in 2005, the Marshall Collection is exhibited before fall finals begin and end after the holiday season and classes resume.

Curator, Exhibit design and installation: Chandi Singer, Burger Archives Assistant.