- Nancy H. Marshall, author
of The Night Before Christmas: A Descriptive Bibliography
of Clement Clarke Moore's Immortal Poem, is a retired Dean
of University Libraries at The College of William and Mary. She
has been collecting Christmas memorabilia and editions of Clement
Clarke Moore's A Visit from St. Nicholas,
more commonly known today as The Night Before Christmas,
for nearly half a century. Her extensive collection
has been donated to the Special Collections Research Center of William
and Mary's Earl Gregg Swem Library.
- Ms. Marshall has a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University and
her M.A.L.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She and
her husband, Bill, are the parents of four children, and the
grandparents of six shining lights in their lives. They now reside
on the Maine coast near Portland.
- Retirement in 1997 provided the impetus and opportunity to
realize a lifelong dream to publish a history of Moore's poem.
She began intensive research and writing of this scholarly bibliography,
but soon realized that she wanted to make it equally appealing
and attractive for the general reader, also.
- As Connie Kearns McCarthy, Dean of University Libraries at The College
of William and Mary, wrote in her Foreword to the book: Nancy Marshall
has captured the sense of enchantment and the thrill of the chase in
her scholarly bibliography. The sense of enchantment comes through
in the recounting of the history of the tale as well as the story of
her personal involvement and study of Clement Moore and the publishing
history. The thrill of the chase has been a part of her life for forty-five
years. Any collector knows the thrill of being immersed (Nancy did
use the term "obsessed") in a subject that leads to new adventures
and new quests for materials that must be added to the ever growing
- In terms of building her collection, Nancy has this to say:
As time passed, it became apparent to me that I would need
to devote much more of my time, talent and treasure if I were
going to build my collection into the comprehensive one I envisioned.
As a result, my collection is now approaching one thousand
editions and other items relating to the poem. Gradually, I began
to realize that it was, perhaps, one of the largest collections
held in private hands, and that someday it would be incumbent
upon me to compile a bibliography as my contribution to the scholarly
record. This, then, is what you have in hand - a labor of love
built upon a lifetime of collecting.