Moore, Clement (Clarke)(1779–1863) educator, Hebraist, poet; born in New York City. He graduated from Columbia College (1798), became a Hebrew scholar, wrote A Compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew Language (1809), and was a founder of and professor at the General Theological Seminary, New York City (1823–50). He is generally known for a poem written for his children, "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (1822), later known as "The Night Before Christmas." The work was copied down by a guest at his home and given, without his knowledge or permission, to a newspaper in Troy, N.Y., for publication in 1823, and was copied by other newspapers throughout the country; it was only in 1844 that Moore was acknowledged as the author. His other claim to fame is that in 1807 he discovered Lorenzo Da Ponte, the librettist of three of Mozart's greatest operas, in a New York City bookstore, and was instrumental in Da Ponte's new career as a teacher of Italian language and literature.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.