Christmas greetings from Melancthon Woolsey

Ms_101787_d1One of my favorite Christmas-related manuscripts, aside from the occasional diary entry, is a series of illustrated verses created by Melancthon Woolsey in 1783 for his Grandmother Woolsey. I can understand why it survived; it is beautiful. Each verse is illustrated by a vignette in a circular “frame”, and includes the angels appearing to the shepherds in the field, the Virgin Mary and Joseph, the birth of Jesus in the manger, and the adoration of the Magi.

The eastern sages from afar

Beheld the bright auspicious star

Survey’d with joy the wondrous sign

And knew the [?] all divine.

The shepherds too upon the plains

Heard angels sing their heavanly strains

Peace! peace! on earth, goodwill to men

Their constant unremitting theme.

“Messiah’s come Messiah’s born

And this the glorious happy morn”–

My infant voice I too will raise

And join the universal praise.

This small essay on the

divinest of subjects

To my honor’d

Grand-Mamma

Woolsey is with the most

respectful filial sentiments

presented by

Melancthon Taylor Woolsey.

Dec. 25th 1783

What better present could a grandmother have? Merry Christmas to all from CHS and Melancthon Woolsey (I just like the name!).

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About Barbara

Barbara Austen is the Archivist at CHS and is responsible for all of the incoming manuscripts, which means she gets to read people's diaries or mail. She has a master's Degree in Library and Information Science and has been working in the museum and historical society world for 30 years.

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