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The Santa Claus Man
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The Santa Claus Man

Subtitle The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York
By Alex Palmer
Published by Globe Pequot Press
ISBN 978-1493008445
Spring 2016


The true story of John Duval Gluck, founder of the Santa Claus Association in 1913, which had the sole authority to answer Santa's mail in New York City. He ran the organization for 15 years, gaining fame for making the myth of Santa a reality to poor children by arranging for donors to deliver the toys they requested, until a crusading charity commissioner exposed Gluck as a fraud. The story is wide in scope, interweaving a phony Boy Scout group, kidnapping, stolen artwork, and appearances by the era's biggest stars and New York City’s most famous landmarks. The book is both a personal story and a far-reaching historical one, tracing the history of Christmas celebration in America and the invention of Santa Claus.

Author's Biography

Palmer is the author of two previous nonfiction books and a freelance journalist who's written for Slate, Vulture, Smithsonian, Mental Floss, and many other outlets. He is the recipient of the 2014 IFWTWA Professional Journalism Scholarship Award


"Required reading"—New York Post 
"Palmer deftly weaves in cultural touchstones...a highly readable account of the evolution of one of America’s favorite holidays."—Publishers Weekly

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