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Holiday Story Readings

The Office of Alumni Engagement produced a virtual storytelling series from a special lifetime collection of 400+ The Night Before Christmas books gifted to WCU’s Francis Harvey Green Library by alumna Barbara Loftus Perrone ’56 in honor of her late husband, Charles Perrone ’50. The Barbara Loftus Perrone Collection is one of Special Collections’ most prized possessions. Familiarly known as The Night Before Christmas Collection, its hundreds of books, ephemera, manuscript letters, works of art, and other materials document the history of this two-hundred-year-old beloved American classic. The collection also demonstrates the passion and purpose of its collector, West Chester alumna Barbara Perrone. Barbara has been collecting various editions of The Night Before Christmas for more than fifty years! Thanks to her generosity, Special Collections can share this singular treasure with the West Chester community for years to come.

The virtual holiday-storytelling series highlighting this expansive collection features a number of alumni elves, donned in Santa caps and winter scarves, using their best storytelling voices to relay tales about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and more; one reading is also done in Spanish.

Special Collections at University Libraries is home to thousands of rare and unique items, from William Shakespeare's First Folio to General Anthony Wayne's personal telescope to the William Darlington Herbarium of dried plant specimens. By collecting manuscripts, printed works, and other materials, Special Collections provides rich research opportunities for students and faculty, while also preserving the cultural legacy of Chester County and the history of West Chester University. 

Recordings available on the WCU Alumni Facebook page and below.   

The Perrone Collection of The Night Before Christmas

I’m Susan, Barbara Perrone’s daughter and I’m delighted to share Barbara’s illustrated version of the Night Before Christmas. As an artist, she ‘draws’ upon what she knows. Barbara features her own calligraphy, my twin daughters in silhouette, the family cats, with one drawn draped around Santa’s shoulders as in this photo of my brother, Michael.

Her tea pot collection, a 1907 jointed teddy bear she purchased at auction that she sewed to create missing eyes and ears, and the kerosene lamp from her childhood home by which she read and did homework are all featured in her 1990 limited illustrated edition.

Ten years later in 2000 Barbara published a colorful version as a nod to her silk crazy quilts, many of which are documented with the Chester County Historical Society.

Again, the artist at work. Her third illustrated version in 2010 is a single, hand bound copy of Moore’s poem seen through the eyes and reactions of a cat throughout. The calligraphy used was originally meant for her 1990 effort but she thought it may be difficult for children to read so it only appears in this one of a kind! 

Barbara donated the Night Before Christmas Collection to West Chester University in loving memory of my father, Charles C. Perrone who “encouraged her in all of her artistic endeavors” as she wrote in her 2000 edition dedication. As I noted in the preface, the 2001 Exhibition Catalogue,

“Barbara wants to share with the West Chester University community not only the rich educational resource that the collection will provide, but the less tangible spirit of this gift. It is a living testament to the power of the written word, the beauty of the artists’ brush, the passion of a shared dream, and the joy of a true love. She invites you to open your hearts, minds, and imaginations to the world of the arts and all its possibilities.”

Susan Perrone Walthall
December 2020

Interview with Perrone Collection donor, Barbara Loftus Perrone '56

Q: Tell us about your yourself and your time as a student at West Chester University.
A: I was a day student in the class of 1956 in the Elementary Education program, riding the trolley to school from Upper Darby to West Chester on weekdays. I had an evening and weekend job at a movie theater. During my time at West Chester University, I met my future husband at a summer school function and we were married in April 1955. Going to school full-time, I graduated in 3 years, finishing my degree in January 1956 and began teaching in Wilmington, DE shortly after.

Q: What have you done since graduating?
A: I was both a teacher and librarian in elementary schools throughout my career. I raised three children with my husband, all of whom earned undergraduate degrees from West Chester University. I continued on to graduate school and earned a Masters Degree in Library Science at Villanova University and retired as a school librarian in 1987. I’ve traveled through nine countries and spent more than 30 years volunteering at Paoli Hospital. I enjoy collecting, reading, needlework, illustrating, quilting, calligraphy, etc.

Q: What is the significance of The Perrone Collection and your donation of it to West Chester University?
A: This is a collection of unique interpretations of a classic poem by illustrators, well known and less well known, which can be now accessed by scholars at West Chester University.

Q: Is there anything you would like to be remembered as part of the legacy of this collection?
A: On May 29, 2006, I established an endowment for the Barbara L. and Charles C. Perrone Collections at the Francis Harvey Green Library. This should assure that The Night Before Christmas Collection that I donated in 2000 will continue to grow with new illustrated editions and rare, out of print editions.

Q: What does it mean to you that the collection is being highlighted and shared for the holidays this year?
A: I am happy to see that the collection is being highlighted this year and I hope that it can be exhibited and shared for many years.

Click below to contribute to the Perrone Library Endowment


HOLIDAY Readings

Click the book covers below to watch the recording.

 The Night Before Christmas
 Written by Clement C. Moore
 Illustrated by Barbara Perrone
 Read by Susan (Perrone) Walthall '79, M'89


 The Night Before Christmas
 Written by Clement C. Moore
 Illustrated by Robert Ingpen
 Read by Dr. Sue Fiorentino '86


 The Night Before Christmas
 Written by Clement C. Moore
 Illustrated by Tasha Tudor
 Read by Bill Scottoline '74


 Firefighter's Night Before Christmas
 Written by Kimbra Cutlip
 Illustrated by James Rice
 Read by Jon Edwards '10


 Cuento de Nochebuena Una visita de San Nicolás
 Written by Clement C. Moore
 Illustrated by Charles Santore
 Read by Andrea Lydon '07, M'20


 The Grandma Moses Night Before Christmas
 Written by Clement C. Moore
 Illustrated by Grandma Moses
 Read by Kimmi Szanjuk '20


 A Creature was Stirring, One Boy's Night Before Christmas
 Adapted and Illustrated by Carter Goodrich
 Read by Pat Gallen '07


 Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins
 Written by Eric Kimmel
 Illustrated by Trina Shart Hyman
 Read by Cheryl Lydon '03


 Nurse's Night Before Christmas
 Written by David Davis
 Illustrated by James Rice
 Read by Nicole (Beegle) Schenk '12


 The Night Before Christmas
 Written by Clement C. Moore
 Illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat
 Read by Zahra Husain '22

The Sound of Kwanzaa 
 Written by Dimitrea Tokunbo
 Illustrated by Lisa Cohen
 Read by Dr. Lisa Montgomery '92, M'01, D'20


 The Night Before Christmas
 Written by Clement C. Moore
 Illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson
 Read by Suzanne (Gallagher) Llull '15


Holiday Reading with Rammy
Rammy | Abigail Johnson '23
The Night Before Christmas, An African-American Version

 Written by Clement C. Moore
 Illustrated by Melodye Rosales
 Read by Eric Frans '15, M'18


 My Very Own Dreidel
 Written by Dani Kollin
 Illustrated by Juliet Howard
 Read by Melissa Bologno '15



to print Rammy's Happy Holidays coloring page

to print Rammy's Merry Christmas coloring page

to print Happy Hanukkah coloring page

to print Rammy's Happy Kwanzaa coloring page

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