Scrapbook Tells How Rudolph Went Down in History

Friday, 23 Dec 2011 06:50 AM

 

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HANOVER, N.H. — Curious about how Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer really went down in history? It's all in the pages of a long-overlooked scrapbook compiled by Rudolph's creator and housed at his alma mater, Dartmouth College.

Rudolph first appeared in a 1939 book written by a Montgomery Ward advertising copywriter and given free to children to drive traffic to department stores. The author, Robert L. May, later donated his first draft and other papers to Dartmouth, but his scrapbook chronicling Rudolph's launch and success went unnoticed until last year when the college archivist came across it while looking for something else.

Montgomery Ward, which described Rudolph as the "Perfect Christmas Crowd-Bringer," launched a massive marketing campaign to promote the book and gave away 2 million copies that first year.

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