December 1967, I noticed a story in the local newspaper, The Daily Plainsman, called “Santa and the Pigwidgen”. It was the first chapter of a seventeen-part story that appeared in the paper, daily. I cut out each chapter and pasted them into a spiral bound notebook. For the next two Decembers, other seventeen-part Santa stories were published. Each were also saved and pasted in the notebook. Then the stories stopped.
Jumping ahead to 2013, I found the notebook. Thanks to the internet, I was finally able to get the story behind the stories.
Lucrece Hudgins Beale began her journalism career in Massachusetts in 1937. She was a feature writer with the Boston Sunday Post. Lucrece joined the AP at its New York headquarters, and from there she moved to Washington.
Known as Lu, Beale published her first Christmas story on Dec. 7, 1942, one year after Pearl Harbor, that “Day in Infamy”. She utilized a format that allowed newspapers to run one chapter every week night, ending on Christmas Eve. She felt that America’s children needed to be cheered, focusing their attention on the fun of Christmas rather than the national crisis that was World War II. Thus was born the Christmas story.
Mrs. Beale wrote a story every subsequent Christmas for the next twenty-seven years through 1969.
The twenty-seven stories generally involved a little boy with some problem that required him to get in touch with Santa Claus. This would become a problem that faced Santa Claus as he tried to meet his Christmas Eve deadline. Most of the stories were in seventeen chapters. All but two of the stories were named “Santa and the…”
Lu started off credited as Lucrece Hudgins. In 1952, she switched to Lucrece Hudgins Beale, becoming Lucrece Beale in 1961. After 1969, the stories were occasionally republished. The latest date I have found is 1979.
In 2000, Nostalgia Trims began reprinting the stories in chronological order. The plan was to publish a new story each year, published in booklet form. Unfortunately, only the first three years were published. The Nostalgia Trims website no longer exists and I have been unable to find out why they stopped. I did find two of the three books on Ebay. When I received them, there was an added bonus, both books had been signed by Lu Beale!
Lu passed away on October 6, 2004, at the age of 90.
More information on the life of Lucrece Beal can be found here.
I have tracked down all twenty-eight stories and made them available here. The banners on the left will take you to the stories.
Send your suggestions, comments
and ideas to
Everything you see here is a labor of love.
Images and stories are used without permission and are copyright and trademark of the
respective copyright and trademark holders.
Any use of these items is not intended as a challenge to those copyrights and