The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York

The Santa Claus Man The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York Before the charismatic John Duval Gluck Jr came along letters from New York City children to Santa Claus were destroyed unopened by the U S Post Office Gluck saw an opportunity and created the Sa

  • Title: The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York
  • Author: AlexPalmer
  • ISBN: 9781493008445
  • Page: 260
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Before the charismatic John Duval Gluck, Jr came along, letters from New York City children to Santa Claus were destroyed, unopened, by the U.S Post Office Gluck saw an opportunity, and created the Santa Claus Association The effort delighted the public, and for 15 years money and gifts flowed to the only group authorized to answer Santa s mail Gluck became a Jazz AgeBefore the charismatic John Duval Gluck, Jr came along, letters from New York City children to Santa Claus were destroyed, unopened, by the U.S Post Office Gluck saw an opportunity, and created the Santa Claus Association The effort delighted the public, and for 15 years money and gifts flowed to the only group authorized to answer Santa s mail Gluck became a Jazz Age celebrity, rubbing shoulders with the era s movie stars and politicians, and even planned to erect a vast Santa Claus monument in the center of Manhattan until Gotham s crusading charity commissioner discovered some dark secrets in Santa s workshop The rise and fall of the Santa Claus Association is a caper both heartwarming and hardboiled, involving stolen art, phony Boy Scouts, a kidnapping, pursuit by the FBI, a Coney Island bullfight, and above all, the thrills and dangers of a wild imagination It s also the larger story of how Christmas became the extravagant holiday we celebrate today, from Santa s early beginnings in New York to the country s first citywide Christmas tree and Macy s first grand holiday parade The Santa Claus Man is a holiday tale with a dark underbelly, and an essential read for lovers of Christmas stories, true crime, and New York City history.

    One thought on “The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York”

    1. I came across The Santa Claus Man: The Rise And Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man And The Invention of Christmas In New York in Bas Bleu Catalog, where you can find a myriad of unusual bookish gifts. Bas Bleu’s byline says it all. ”Champion of the odd little bookd wellspring of inspired gifts for readers.”The title warned me that all would not be merry and bright but it also sparked my curiosity to know who this Santa was and what made him special. Alex Palmer, the author also was intrigued by th [...]

    2. I don't give star ratings to books my company publishes. This is a crazy story. If you have any interest in how Americans have come to celebrate Christmas as we do, check it out.

    3. This book is not just a biography but also a history of NYC and Santa Claus.Not many people would recognize the name John Duval Gluck but for almost 15 years he was “Santa Claus” to the poor and underprivileged children of New York City. John Gluck started out working in the Customs and Brokerage business his father had founded and although he was good at his job (as he proved to be in all his undertakings) his heart was not in the work. He tried his hand briefly as a Public Relations and Pr [...]

    4. A fascinating book from beginning to end. This is not only the story of a marketing con man who fashioned a comfortable living out of appealing to public empathy, but also the story of the creation, growth and marketing of Santa Claus and a merchandising direction for Christmas. A very lively writing style keeps this story engaging throughout. It would be a natural for a motion picture are you there, Tom Hanks?I was amazed to learn how influential New York has been in forming the Christmas holi [...]

    5. I love a good story about history, especially when they are about topics I have never heard of before. This book is a good example. I have always wondered what happens to letter sent to Santa. Palmer takes you back in time when one man tries to make everyone's Christmas a little brighter. But with most tales, the best of intentions can lead to trouble. Some of the stories are so heartwarming. Learning how complete strangers help a mother reunite with her son after he was kidnapped by his father. [...]

    6. This is a wonderful non-fiction book that reads like fiction. John Duval Gluck was a charity promoter in the 1920's who agreed to take the letters that children wrote to Santa Claus and fulfill their wishes. It is a great portrait of the rise of Christmas and Santa Claus in New York during the 1920's. The author is a relative of Gluck's so there are some great photos in the book.

    7. Originally published on my blog at: literaryfeline/2015/12Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review.The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York by Alex PalmerRowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015Nonfiction; 320 pgsIn my holiday-themed book craze mood, I decided to add The Santa Claus Man to my list of books to read this Christmas season, wanting something to break up the more sentimental and traditional fiction fare. It [...]

    8. *****A captivating and brilliant historical account about Christmas and a hustler.*****I thought "The Santa Clause Man" was an amazingly well researched story peppered with interesting photographs and facts about a man, John Duval Gluck Jr who, with the best of intentions, tries to rekindle the spirit of Christmas by answering Santa's "dead" letters.Author, Alex Palmer, has written a very captivating and brilliant historical account about the resurrection of the spirit of Christmas and Santa Cla [...]

    9. Palmer does a great job of delivering narrative that brings the reader into the context of Manhattan at the time the story takes place. The story has several layers to it and several threads throughout, and Palmer expertly weaves them into the fabric of the story. There's a lot here for a reader to take in, so if you love reading history and true crime The Santa Clause man will be sure to please. As a former Boy Scout, I was particularly fascinated about the competition between the BSA and Unite [...]

    10. Far be it from me to be part of "Christmas creep"; I'm as nauseated as anyone to see holiday decorations dominating stores and Christmas-themed commercials cropping up on tv. But this book was published in, and I read it in, October, and – well, after all, this is how it all began… I roll my eyes at sentimental movies. That part in the Two Towers film where the whole theatre was filled with the sound of sniffling found me sitting in a boiling fury at the ridiculous schmaltz of it all. I cry [...]

    11. Following the rise and fall of John Duval Gluck, Jr aka The Santa Claus Man, Alex Palmer’s new book offers a unique behind-the-scenes look at some of the people who first organized the kinds of Christmas celebrations we’ve all come to know and love.From humble beginnings, operating out of a back room in Henkel’s Chop House, Gluck first took on the task of responding to hundreds of letters addressed to Santa by area children with a sense of pride and the Christmas spirit. But, as with all t [...]

    12. The Santa Claus Man by Alex Palmer Before the charismatic John Duval Gluck, Jr. came along, letters from New York City children to Santa Claus were destroyed, unopened, by the U.S. Post Office. Gluck saw an opportunity, and created the Santa Claus Association. The effort delighted the public, and for 15 years money and gifts flowed to the only group authorized to answer Santa’s mail. This book is not only about John Gluck and the Santa Claus Association but also about New York City history. T [...]

    13. Alex Palmer hit a home run with his book The Santa Claus Man. His focus is primarily on John Duval Gluck, the man who created (and ruined) the Santa Claus Association in New York, though he does provide context to other areas of Christmas traditions and the history of Santa Claus. The book it witty, suspenseful and it makes you both empathize and dislike Gluck for his actions. Even though Palmer is related to Gluck, he writes it in such a way as to be neutral and let the character take care of h [...]

    14. If you think you are going to pick up this book and read all about HO ho HO you are sadly mistaken!By the end of the book you wonder if Gluck had ulterior motives from the start of his career or did the greed, and devious-ness develop over time? I initially thought he was an incredible man, who created the Santa Association to help under-privileged kids before the turn of the century.By the end of the book i was sadly disheartened to find out just how underhanded he became.Gluck strived for glor [...]

    15. The Santa Claus Man is an excellent accounting of both how Santa became an intricate part of the American Christmas Scene and also was great telling of the story of the first Santa Claus of New York with the ups and downs of the charitable organization he built to bring Santa to New York in the 1920s. The story is well written. The book is filled with pictures procured from newspapers and organizational filfilesI found The Santa Claus Man to be well worth the read. This book received a FOUR STAR [...]

    16. This is a must read for the Christmas season! This fit my interest and passion for learning about early 20th century New York, and a little known character of questionable objectives. The Santa Claus Man highlights the life of John Duval Gluck jr. who created The Santa Claus Association. I will leave it up to my fellow readers if "Santa's secretary" belongs on the naughty or nice list.

    17. I've had this book for months and months as an ARC from NetGalley and I'm finally finishing it now. Once I got into the actual story about the Santa Claus Association, MY interest was piqued. Full review to come.+++++++++See my full review on my blog at allthebookblognamesaretaken.bl or facebook/AllTheBookBlogNamesA

    18. Very crazy stuff that nowadays could never happen. There is no more whimzy crime now that technology has evaded our lives. Its even worse stuff that happens now!

    19. The Santa Claus Man, John Gluck, Jr was a fraud. He was also a distant relative of the author who goes easy on him in this book. Mr. Gluck had delusions of greatness. He persuaded the New York City post office to deliver children's letters to Santa directly to his organization, formed for the purpose of fulfilling wishes of the underprivileged. For 15 years he continued lining his own pockets with the donations of kindly New Yorkers. He also had other schemes going. In the early twentieth centur [...]

    20. The biography of a bombastic showman always on the lookout for a spectacular way to improve his image. He finds it in 1913 when the US Post Office allows Santa letters to be answered by any organization applying. He initiates the Santa Claus Association that brings in prominent people of the day to lend their name and status to the work. Along the way he gets entangled with spurious schemes to make money, siphons funds from his charity, and through unabashed hubris fights off all investigations [...]

    21. Interesting story about the early part of the 20th Century in New York. Charitable giving and its oversight, the Boy Scouts of America and their competition, and how Christmas grew to be celebrated in largely the manner it is today - insight into all of these. It felt really long, though, and I was glad to finish it.

    22. An interesting look into how one man "championed" Santa Claus for needy kids/families in NYC in the 1920's. (Mild spoiler) Gluck may have started off with good intentions, but I ended the book wondering if the ease of which he raised money from the NYC elite through multiple fundraising efforts padded his own pocketbook more than it should have.

    23. Interesting but clutteredThe subject of this book is fascinating! My main complaint though is that the narrative is a bit disjointed and takes frequent asides to track about side adventures of the man in question, or even a third party who happened to be tangentially related to the story.

    24. Love this bookSo much about our modern way of celebrating Christmas has its roots in the story told here, both the good and the scandalous. A fascinating read that I highly recommend. Mister Santa Claus was anything but.

    25. I learned a bit about the evolution of Christmas celebration in the US, and NYC in particular. The book was enjoyable, but I wish we had learned more about the scale and scope of the charity fraud.

    26. Loved the first half, hated the second half. I was more interested in NYC history than the man’s history.

    27. A fascinating tale of a man who wanted to make a difference at Christmas. At the same time it is a story about the thin edge between charity and larceny. The book also delves into our concept of the Santa Claus character and his evolution from the 1800s to the 20th century. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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