Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

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Copyright © 2006 by Douglas D. Anderson
Released To The Public Domain

O Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

"Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" is a Christmas song that originated with a poem by Emily Huntington Miller (1833-1913), published as "Lilly's Secret" in The Little Corporal Magazine in December of 1865. The song's lyrics have also been attributed to Benjamin Hanby, who wrote a similar song in the 1860s, Up on the Housetop. However, the lyrics now in common use closely resemble Miller's 1865 poem. Some people have also attributed the lyrics to John Piersol McCaskey -a song editor and publisher, among other things, at the time. His great great grandson has said he wrote the song in 1867, and that the "Johnny" mentioned in the song who wants a pair of skates, is McCaskey's late son, John, who died as a child. However, there is no known evidence for this. McCaskey's own published 1881 book, Franklin Square Song Collection No. 1, a book in which proper attribution is given to songs' lyricists and composers, does not list himself as having had anything to do with the song.
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