[PAST EVENT] 'Twas the Night exhibit in Swem Library

December 9, 2011 - February 13, 2012
Swem Library
400 Landrum Dr
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
The yearly occurrence of Christmas invites celebrations to maintain a sense of tradition and nostalgia. Steeped in the Colonial Revival atmosphere of Williamsburg in the 1930s with the reconstruction of historic buildings on campus and Duke of Gloucester Street, the Yuletide season featured events with traditional inspirations. Illustrators filled various editions of The Night Before Christmas printed during the era with interior scenes of fireplaces, Colonial Revival furnishings and old-fashioned clothing. W&M President John S. Bryan hosted a series of elaborate costumed Christmas dinners and parties following the annual Yule Log ceremony to restore student, faculty and staff morale in the midst of the Great Depression.

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.

[[acschi, Amy Schindler]] at 757-221-3094