Biography Clement Clarke Moore

Clement Clarke Moore

photo of Clement Clarke Moore
  • Time Period1779 - 1863
  • Place
  • CountryUnited States

Poet Biography

Clement Moore was born in New York City and was a resident there for most of his life. He eventually retired to Newport, RI, and died there.

He was a Biblical Hebrew scholar and Professor of Classics at General Theological Seminary, NYC, which he founded. One of his books was A Compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew Language.In 1807 he discovered Lorenzo da Ponte, the librettist of three of Mozart's greatest operas, in a New York City bookstore, and was instrumental in launching da Ponte's new career as a teacher of Italian language and literature.

Clement Moore was the savior of New York's Greenwich Village. He wrote a 60-page pamphlet — anonymously — that argued against extending the orthogonal grid of streets into the village. His arguments were persuasive and the grid stopped at 6th Avenue and at 14th Street. He eventually admitted authorship of the pamphlet.

Clement wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas for his children in 1822, supposedly on an excursion by sleigh into Greenwich Village to buy the family's Christmas turkey. This spirited ballad has, more than anything else, been formative of our modern concept of the secular aspects of Christmas.