Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol

December 7, 2020 through January 10, 2021

Every holiday season, the Morgan displays Charles Dickens’s original manuscript of A Christmas Carol in J. Pierpont Morgan's Library. Dickens wrote his iconic tale in a six-week flurry of activity beginning in October 1843 and ending in time for Christmas publication. He had the manuscript bound in red goatskin leather as a gift for his solicitor, Thomas Mitton. The manuscript then passed through several owners before Pierpont Morgan acquired it in the 1890s.


Beginning a few years ago, the Morgan started advancing the Christmas Carol manuscript by one page each season. This year the manuscript is open to Scrooge’s vituperative remarks about Christmas, which, he believes, is nothing more than “a time for finding yourself a year older and not an hour richer.” For the obstinate Scrooge, “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!” Scrooge’s nephew Fred counters with a spirited vindication of the holiday, “though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in [his] pocket”: “[it is] the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts, freely.”

Explore Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol online and view other related highlights from the collection.

Share in the festivities with your own copy of A Christmas Carol available from the Morgan Shop. This is the first-ever trade edition of Charles Dickens's "own and only" manuscript of his classic and beloved story. It contains a facsimile of the original manuscript of A Christmas Carol, published in full-color, with a foreword by Colm Tóibín and introduction by Declan Kiely.

Charles Dickens (1812-1870), A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, illustration by John Leech, London: Chapman & Hall, 1843. Bequest of Gordon N. Ray, 1987. PML 132030.

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