For a long time, Clement Moore wouldn’t admit he wrote Twas the Night Before Christmas, also known as “A Visit from St. Nicholas”.
Here’s the story.
Dr. Clement Clarke Moore, a classics scholar, wrote the poem in 1822 simply for the fun of reading it to his children on Christmas Eve.
A family friend, without asking for permission or crediting an author, mailed a copy of it to a newspaper, which printed it.
Other newspapers picked it up, then magazines and anthologies, but no one knew who wrote it.
Within a few years, nearly every child in America knew the still-anonymous poem by heart, and Moore’s vision of Santa, from reindeer to jolly fat man coming down chimneys, became America’s vision as well.
It wasn’t until 1838 that Moore admitted having written it. Why did he hold back and forfeit years of author royalties?
As a serious scholar, he feared that having written a popular child’s poem might set him up for ridicule in the cutthroat academic world and damage his professional reputation.