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Santa Claus: Comparing Evolving Imagery and Text

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Language Arts And English +2 Age Level Elementary (9 to 12 years old)

This collection gathers depictions of Santa Claus from ads, paintings, photographs, stamps from 1837 to today. Also, includes analyses of his evolving image from the Smithsonian Magazine and the National Museum of American History blog. How does the description of Santa in the Christmas poem, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" compare with the images that follow? Includes a discussion question extension: How might you revamp Christmas stories to better reflect the time and country that you live in?

Keywords: Saint Nicholas, holidays, poetry

Effortless! / Lloyd Center

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Thoughtful Santa Claus. [Print advertising.] 1890

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Recession's Greetings

National Portrait Gallery

Thoughtful Santa Claus. [Print advertising.] 1885

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Santa Claus

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Compliments of Blossburg Tea Store [Santa Claus image on card.]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

[Santa at the door : color print, advertising card.]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Merry Christmas Greetings [picture postcard]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

St. Nicholas

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Appalshop, Inc. Photo Survey Project

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Artforum International Magazine, December 1987

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Unknown: Santa Claus by Thomas Nast

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Advertising poster for perfumery trade

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Arturo Rodríguez to Helen L. Kohen

Archives of American Art

Jameson & Co. / Fine Shoes / Bruckton, Mass."

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

[Santa on his sleigh with two reindeer, in color : greeting card.]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Christmas cards

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Santa-Gram by Western Union [blank form]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

37c Santa Claus with Trumpet single

National Postal Museum

29c Santa Claus In Chimney single

National Postal Museum

8c Santa Claus single

National Postal Museum

34c Santa Holding Toys single

National Postal Museum

Santa Claus Christmas Ornament

National Museum of American History