Victorian Christmas Tradition Continues in Libertyville

A Victorian Christmas returns to Libertyville's historic Ansel B. Cook Home this holiday season, decked in lights, finery, and a special anniversary exhibit of books and images charting the history of the most beloved Christmas poem of all time.

Continuing a tradition begun over fifty years ago, the Libertyville Historical Society will welcome visitors to the first floor of the 1878 Cook Home Friday Nov. 24 after the Libertyville tree lighting until 9 p.m., and to both highly decorated floors on Saturdays December 2 and 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mary Tompson, House Manager for the Libertyville Historical Society, said visitors will experience Christmas finery added to the furnishings and artifacts throughout the Home, along with a fully decorated Christmas tree, seven Italian marble fireplaces, and an intricately carved oak staircase festooned with greenery.

Also, on display will be over 40 books and images from the Night Before Christmas collection of Libertyville resident Julia Crane on this, the 200th anniversary of the first publication of the poem originally known as A Visit From St. Nicholas.

"Although written and read to his children a year earlier by New York City theologian Clement Clarke Moore," Tompson said, "the poem wasn't published until a year later, when it appeared in a Troy, New York newspaper on Dec. 23, 1823."

The collection, exhibited during the Saturday open house hours, includes an unillustrated printing in an 1853 anthology, books illustrated by famous artists including Grandma Moses, and examples of how the poem has been published around the world.

A suggested open house donation for adults is $5.00. Children are free. The historic house museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is at 413 N. Milwaukee Avenue in the center of Libertyville.

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