SPECIAL - The Man Who Wrote Jingle BellsBy Christine Johnson
[This is a repeat of a program broadcast 12-24-99. ]
Now a special program for the Christmas Holiday. Here is Maurice Joyce.
Wherever people celebrate Christmas, you can hear Christmas music. Many of the songs are religious. They tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Other songs are non-religious. They tell about Santa Claus, reindeer and gifts.
One of the most widely-known Christmas songs, however, is not about Christmas at all! It is simply a poem about winter, put to music. The name of the song is "Jingle Bells." This is how it goes.
((TAPE CUT ONE: JINGLE BELLS))
The man who wrote the poem was John Pierpont. Mr. Pierpont was born in the state of Connecticut in the early days of the American republic. During his long life, he was a lawyer, businessman, churchman and teacher. He led campaigns to end slavery, and to bar the sale of alcohol, in the United States.
Mr. Pierpont's name appears in a publication about famous Americans. The publication notes that Mr. Pierpont wrote a book called "Airs of Palestine and Other Poems." But it does not say he wrote a poem about winter that is still popular today. Of all the things John Pierpont did, he is not remembered for anything else.