Local News

December 23, 2012

Civil War anniversary: Santa Claus and the Christmas of 1862


The earliest images of Santa Claus

“Santa Claus in Camp” and “Christmas Eve, 1862” were drawn for a war-torn country in 1862.  Now, 150 years later, they remain two of the most riveting images of the Civil War. Not only do his illustrations impart an insight into the politics of the war, they also offer a rare window into the deep and intense emotions of the people who lived through these difficult years, in both North and South.

And they give us our earliest image of Santa Claus.  Today Santa is known by children of all ages around the world.  He may appear adapted for different cultures, different languages, and different countries, but “Ho-Ho-Ho” translates the same everywhere.  

Santa Claus is a gift from the folklore of the centuries, the pen of Clement Clarke Moore and the artistry of Thomas Nast.  

Every year we eagerly await his visit, and every year, without fail, he brings us happiness. He is always jolly, always kind and always charitable.  No wonder he is so beloved by so many.

And I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

This article is part of a series of stories about Dalton and life in Dalton during the Civil War. The stories run on Sunday and are provided by the Dalton-Whitfield 150th Civil War Commission. To find out more about the committee, go to www.dalton150th.com. If you have material that you would like to contribute for a future article contact Robert Jenkins at (706) 259-4626 or robert.jenkins@robertdjenkins.com.

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