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A Yule Blog from the Mather Bookshelf

“Christmas Stories About Santa Claus”

On the shelf at the far end of the Keeping Room are two copies of “Christmas Stories About Santa Claus.” Printed by two different publishers of religious materials, the books were intended for SundaySchool students. (The version printed by Nelson & Phillips was from

the “Sunday School Department.”)

The books contain two stories. The first by Sophia Snow is “Annie and Willie’s Prayer.” This was originally published by itself in 1872. (It is possible to find readings of the Prayer on YouTube.)

The second was written by Henry Floy and is titled “Is Santa Claus Dead?” Unfortunately, the author seems to answer in the affirmative…

“…For truly good Santa Claus died unto you When our father in

battle was cruelly slain, And mother was freed from her grief and

her pain, But there’s ONE, my own sister, who dwelleth above, A

Being of infinite mercy and love, Who will be, if to him we are

faithful and true, Both Father, and Mother, and Santa Claus, too.”

Henry Floy was the uncle of Jane Thacker Floy, Stephen Tyng Mather’s wife. Jane’s grandfather and Henry’s father was Rev. James Floy, D.D. a leading Methodist minister in New York City (See the “Prominent in his devotion..” blog.) Henry Floy lived from 1843-1866 so his story would have been published posthumously in the Christmas Stories book.

More positively, Sophia Snow speaking for Annie and Willie’s father writes…

“’Hereafter I’ll make it a rule I believe, To have Santa Claus

visit us each Christmas Eve.’

So thinking, he gently extinguish’d the light, And, tripping

down stairs, retired for the night.”

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