When I was a kid, I had a record of the poem set to music, sung by Perry Como, an Italian crooner my mom loved. I played the record so many times that I can clearly hear it in my memory.
The poem was first published anonymously in the Troy, New York, Sentinel on December 23, 1823, submitted by one of the author's friends. In 1837, the poem was attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, an American Professor of Oriental and Greek Literature, who acknowledged authorship.
Although Moore published other poems as well as political treatises, he's best known for the poem about St. Nick.
According to Moore, he wrote his poem while visiting his cousin Mary McVicker in what is now Constableville, New York. Apparently, he was inspired by a sleigh ride during a shopping trip on a snowy winter day.
There are 4 handwritten copies of the poem known to exist. Three of those are in museums, and the fourth, written and signed by Moore as a gift to a friend in 1860, was sold by one private collector to another in December 2006. Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas, Texas, brokered the sale for $280,000 by an unnamed "chief executive officer of a media company" who lives in Manhattan.
"I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight: Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!"
So say we all.