“Today Sister prepares her mince meat. ‘Shall auld acquaintance be forgot.’ Keep up my beloved daughter these little anniversary memorials of the olden times, which serve to revive family customs & the memory of departed friends, and moreover prove that we had hospitable good livers before us. When every thing was cheap & plenty, & less glitter & more substance, good cheer was the universal order of the day, & all vied, not so much in the redundant variety as in the superior excellence of the dished. Every female was instructed in the art of cooking preserves, & pastry, as well as the more ordinary duties of house keeping…”
Letters from John Pintard* to his Daughter
16 December 1826
*Perhaps his greatest contribution to American society, however, was his role in establishing the modern popular conception of Santa Claus based upon the Dutch legend of Sinterklaas. His papers demonstrate that he personally observed the feast of St. Nicholas in an era when such remembrances were still frequently considered “hagiolatry” in America and when almanacs of the day omitted reference to such a feast day. His publication of a pamphlet proposing St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York City became a theme later expounded upon by Washington Irving.