The Santa Claus Man

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


Book Description

 The true story of John Duval Gluck, Jr., who in 1913 founded the Santa Claus Association, 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.

About Palmer, Alex

 Alex Palmer is freelance writer and researcher who curated an exhibit on the Santa Claus Association for Brooklyn's City Reliquary in December 2012. It received wide press attention and was the subject of a major holiday feature for WNYC. He is the author of two previous books: Weird-o-Pedia (Skyhorse, 2012), for which he researched hundreds of unusual facts about everyday things from Donuts to Dogs and which has sold more than 10,000 copies to date, with special distribution in Urban Outfitters and elsewhere; and Literary Miscellany (Skyhorse, 2010), which offers a breezy and entertaining survey of the history of literature. His writing has appeared in the NY Daily News, USA Today, The New York Post, Publishers Weekly, and many other outlets.