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The Night Before Christmas: Public Works of Art With Local Ties

Posted about 1 month ago by Gayle H

Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels and Poetry, History and Politics and Local History | Tagged with Art, great depression, holidays, Illustrations, P.W.A., poem, Public Works Administration, Santa Claus, Scott High School and The Night Before Christmas

P.W.A. Project by Scott High School Student

The vault of the Blade Rare Book Room houses a variety of historical objects ...

Ten plagues in color and hand made portfolio - The Night Before Christmas by Helmuth Thoms - P.W.A. Project - ninth region Toledo area - April 1934

Among the artifacts representing our national, regional, and in this case even our institutional history, are a set of ten renderings of Clement C. Moore's classic poem, "The Night Before Christmas." They were commissioned in 1934 by the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), a program initiated by Franklin D. Roosevelt to help stimulate the economy during the depression. Colored photographs of these works, along with the works of 24 additional area artists that included zoo murals, model ships, portraits, and sculptures, were exhibited in Washington, D. C., as part of a national exhibit of work done under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

The placards feature the art and calligraphy of Helmut F. Thoms, at the time a junior at Scott High School. After the set became part of the Library's collection, traditionally, they were used by librarians to narrate the poem for family holiday events. After spending a number of years at the West Toledo Branch Library, they were reportedly rediscovered during the 2001 renovation of the Main Library.

Now the artwork is part of the permanent collection in the Blade Rare Book Room in the Local History and Genealogy department at Main Library, which is still available for research purposes by appointment during renovations.

The Night Before Christmas: Art & Calligraphy by Helmut F. Thoms; text by Clement C. Moore

Each of the 14" x 20" artist's boards were created with a variety of media including pencil, watercolor, gouache, and ink. Thoms also made a portfolio to contain the artwork, using the cover as shown above.

"The Night Before Christmas" - art and calligraphy by Helmut F. Thoms. Includes the opening paragraph ... 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house ...
"The Night Before Christmas" - art and calligraphy by Helmut F. Thoms. Includes text from poem by Clement C. Moore ... The children were nestled all snug in their beds ...
""The Night Before Christmas" - art and calligraphy by Helmut F. Thoms. Includes text from the poem by Clement C. Moore - I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. ...
"The Night Before Christmas" - art and calligraphy by Helmut F. Thoms. Includes text from poem by Clement C. Moore: But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer ...
"The Night Before Christmas" - art and calligraphy by Helmut F. Thoms. Includes text from poem by Clement C. Moore: On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen! ...
"The Night Before Christmas" - art and calligraphy by Helmut F. Thoms. Includes text from poem by Clement C. Moore: With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too ...
"The Night Before Christmas" - art and calligraphy by Helmut F. Thoms. Includes text from poem by Clement C. Moore: And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot ...
"The Night Before Christmas" - art and calligraphy by Helmut F. Thoms. Includes text from poem by Clement C. Moore: And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow ...
"The Night Before Christmas" - art and calligraphy by Helmut F. Thoms. Includes text from poem by Clement C. Moore: And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. ...
"The Night Before Christmas" - art and calligraphy by Helmut F. Thoms. Includes text from poem by Clement C. Moore: And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. ...

Looking for More Local History Resources?

Explore ToledoLibrary.org/DigitalCollections to discover digital resources unique to our region.

The Night before Christmas : or, A visit from St. Nicholas : the classic edition / by Clement C. Moore ; illustrated by Charles Santore

The Night Before Christmas

by Clement Clarke Moore

Check it out from the Library!

Request one of the many variations or formats through the catalog or call one of our many locations to speak to a Librarian today!

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