Clement Clark Moore was a professor of Oriental and Greek literature at Columbia College, now Columbia University, when he wrote “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” for his children. The poem is often referred to as ‘Twas the night before Christmas, based on its opening line. It was first published anonymously, and without Moore’s knowledge, in the Troy, New York Sentinel on December 23, 1823.
The poem was reprinted frequently with no name attached to it. It was not attributed to Moore until 1837. Moore himself did not acknowledge its authorship until 1844 when he included it in a book of his poems. With a well-established reputation as professor, Moore did not wish to be associated with the unscholarly verse. But he included it in his anthology at the insistence of his children.