Placed atop the shelves welcoming visitors to the Delaware County Historical Society Museum, Library and Research Center are an array of replicas of Victorian Santas in time for the holiday season.
Upon their perch, they don fur-trimmed floor-length garb and are complete with full bushy white beards.
There’s even a Santa that his own magical glow from the 1940’s/1950’s as he can be plugged into an electrical source to delight any visitor to the museum.
The concept of Santa first arrived on American shores with the Dutch, who celebrated Dec. 6 as the death of St. Nicholas.
Nicholas was from the area now known as Turkey and his parents died when he was young. He went to live with his uncle and he eventually became a bishop.
The famous story attributed to him and the development of Santa Claus surrounds the plight of a poor man with three daughters and no ability to pay for a dowry for the three of them.
Upon hearing this, Nicholas placed gold coins into a bag or purse. One story says he through them through a window in the house at night and another says he tossed them down the chimney in three separate occasions.
The daughters had been drying their stockings by the fire and the story has it that Nicholas’ bags fell right into the stockings.
Over time, the Industrial Revolution changed ways in which Christmas was celebrated. With more money circulating due to production, people were able to buy gifts.
And through tales such as “A Christmas Carol,” people were encouraged to share wealth.
Also, in Britian, during the Victorian era, society saw the emergence of physical representations of Santa. The name ‘Santa Claus’ became a derivative of the Dutch word – Sinter Klass – for St. Nicholas.
American companies wanted to capitalize on this popular holiday image and it became most noted in depictions by Macy’s and Coca-Cola.
Come see the Santas! They are housed at the Delaware County Historical Society Museum, Library & Research Center is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; 1 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The museum’s telephone number is 610-872-0502. Parking is free on the society lot behind the building or across the street in the municipal lot.
Membership in the Delaware County Historical Society ranges from $10 for students, $27 for individuals to $250 at the patron level. It includes free admission to the society’s Chester museum and library at 408 Avenue of the States, the society newsletter and preferred reservations and discounts for lectures and events. To join, please visit www.padelcohistory.org or call 610-359-0832.
A line of Santas greet visitors to the DCHS museum in December.
One Santa can even cast a glow - when plugged into a working electrical outlet.