Artifact of the Month

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Donated by Susan and Orville Hall Jr.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 1939

This book was a Christmas gift given to Orville Hall Jr. of Fayetteville in 1939. It came from the Montgomery Ward store in Fayetteville, which at that time it was located on Center Street just off the Square (near present-day Damgoode Pies).

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, 1939

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was developed in 1939 as a holiday promotion for Montgomery Ward Department Store. The tale of a little reindeer with a glowing nose was written by Robert L. May, a copywriter for Montgomery Ward's catalog department. Rudolph a big hit, with Ward's giving away more than 2 million books in their stores across the country. 

Some years later Montgomery Ward gave Robert May the rights to the story. May convinced his brother-in-law, a songwriter, to come up with a song about Rudolph. That song was was recorded by Gene Autry, who turned "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" into a Christmas classic. 

Here's a 2013 NPR interview with Robert May


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer title page, 1939

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