Basic Books About St Nicholas

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Out-of-print books may be found in libraries or the used book market.

= some of our favorites
  • Finding the Real Saint Nicholas

    Again Magazine, October-December 2001

    Two articles about Saint Nicholas
    by Terry Mattingly and John Finley

  • Four Latin Plays of St Nicholas: from the 12th Century Fleury Play-book

    Albrecht, Otto E.
    University of Pennsylvania Press
    Oxford University Press, 1935

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; London, England

    Text and commentary, with a study of the music of the plays, and of the sources and iconography of the legends

  • St Nicholas: Miracle-worker of Myra

    Ancelet-Hustache, Jeanne
    MacMillan, 1962

    Translated by Rosemary Sheed; the life and works of the saint

  • The Church of St. Nicholas in Myra and Environs

    Antalya Museum
    Antalya Museum Publication IV, 2006

  • Saint Nicholas in America: Christmas Holy Day and Holiday

    Ayo, Nicholas
    Corby Books, 2006

    Background to St. Nicholas and the development of Santa Claus and contemporary Christmas customs

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  • The True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to Christmas

    Bennett, William J.
    Simon & Schuster, 2009

    This readable little book gives a good basic introduction with background on the life, legends and legacy of Saint Nicholas

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  • The Vitae of St. Nicholas and His Hagiographical Icons in Russia (II)

    Bogusawski, Alexander Prus
    University of Kansas, 1982
    Lawrence, Kansas
    Doctoral dissertation submitted to the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Kansas.

    Chapter VII of the dissertation with the scenes from the Life of St. Nicholas, their iconography and textual sources.

  • The Vitae of St. Nicholas and His Hagiographical Icons in Russia (I)

    Boguslawski, Alexander Prus
    University of Kansas, 1982
    Lawrence, Kansas
    Doctoral dissertation submitted to the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Kansas.

    Background on the St. Nicholas hagiographic tradition in Russia with descriptions of the icons and the stories represented in the icons. The first six chapters of the dissertation.

  • Santa Claus: A Biography

    Bowler, Gerry
    McClelland & Stewart Ltd, Toronto, 2005

    Comprehensive account of the development of the American Santa Claus.

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  • Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra: The Life and Times of the Original Father Christmas

    Cann, D. L.
    Novalis, Canada, 2002

    Detailed historical background on the world where St Nicholas lived

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  • The Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope From Around the World,

    Carus, Louise
    Quest Books, 2002

    A St. Nicholas folktale or legend from around the world for each day in December; stories help restore the true meaning of the holiday season

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  • The Story of Santa Claus

    Chris, Teresa
    Chartwell Books, 1992

  • St. Nicholas Church: Myra, Kekova & Kas from Demre to Kalkan

    Cimrin, Hüseyin
    Güney Books, Antalya, Turkey, 2005

    Pocket guide to the area with sections on Demre, St. Nicholas, and the church

  • Saint Nicholas: His Life, the Translation of his Relics and his Basilica in Bari

    Cioffari, P. Gerardo
    Centro Studi Nicolaiani, 1994

    Translated from the Italian by Philip L. Barnes
    Good, basic well-researched information

  • Saint Nicholas: His life, miracles and legends

    Cioffari, P. Gerardo o.p., translated by Victoria Sportelli
    Centro Studi Nicolaiani, Basilica San Nicola, Bari, Italy, 2008

    Good solid introduction to the saint; Nicholas' life is told in 15 sections along with 13 miracles and legends. The Novena from the Basilica is also included.

  • St. Nicholas: His Legends and Iconography

    Clare, Edward G
    Pocket Library of "Studies" in Art, Leo S. Olschki Editore, Florence, 1985

    Careful presentation of Nicholas in Orthodoxy, Italy, Northern Europe and America, many black/white photos

  • Life of St. Nicholas

    Crawford, Mary Sinclair
    University of Pennsylvania, 1924
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    An examination of the early Norman poet Wace's work Life of Saint Nicholas, together with the full text in French.

  • Who Is Santa Claus? The true story behind a living legend

    Crichton, Robin
    Canongate, 1987

    The history of Saint Nicholas, illuminated with illustrations by Margaret Nisbet; the book followed the production of the popular film, The Curious Case of Santa Claus

  • From Saint to Santa: The Autobiography of Saint Nicholas as Revealed to a Friend

    Crone, Glenn P.
    Glenn P. Crone, 2002

    Story told by one who has been a Santa many, many years

  • The Life and Legends of Saint Nicolas: Patron Saint of Children

    Crozier, Eric
    Duckworth, 1949
    Author's note: "I have tried to recreate an image of the saint from the shadowy fragments of legends that have preserved his name for us . . . My hope is that I may have succeeded in imagining something of the true Saint Nicolas whose original character is concealed for most of us behind the exuberant whiskers and universal benevolence of Father Christmas."

    Complete story of St Nicolas by the author of the text to Benjamin Britten's Saint Nicolas cantata.

  • St. Nicholas & Kekova — Myra

    Dörtlü, Kayhan
    Keskin Color Kartpostalcilik Ltd., Istanbul, Turkey, 2007

    Introduction to the area with a section on the church in Myra; many photos

  • The Saint Play In Medieval Europe
    Early Drama, Art and Music: Monograph 8

    Davidson, Clifford, ed.
    Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1986

    Contains a chapter on St. Nicholas in music in medieval France as well as information on Nicholas plays

  • Saint Nicholas: A psychoanalytic study of his history and myth

    de Groot, Adriaan D.
    Basic Books, Inc., English edition (Dutch original), 1965

    Applies a psychoanalytic perspective to the development of Nicholas customs and lore

  • Nicholas: The People's Saint

    De Napoli, Luca
    Progress Communication, 2004

    Large format photographic book with nine essays about St Nicholas in Bari, Russia and Romania

  • The Lyf of Seynt Nicholas the Bisshop

    de Voragine, Jacobus
    Kelmscott, 1892 / 1966
    Hammersmith, West London, England

    Facsimile edition of the Life of St Nicholas from The Golden Legend. The Golden Legend was written in the last 1200s. The first English edition was translated from the Latin and printed by William Caxton. In 1892 William Morris designed the typeface and ornamented capitals for this edition that was printed by his Kelmscott Press. This facsimile was printed by William Rivinus in 1966.

    Click for the opening page

  • History of Santa: from 2000 BC to the 20th century

    Duncan Royale
    M. E. Duncan Co, Inc., 1987
    Fullerton, California

    Good background on Saint Nicholas, with pages devoted to 24 other figures; illustrated with full page, color illustrations of Duncan Royale fingurines

  • Saint Nicholas: Life and Legend

    Ebon, Martin
    Harper & Row, 1975

    Excellent source with illustrations

  • The Saint Nicholas Secret: A Story of Childhood Faith Reborn in the Heart of a Father

    Engleman, Dennis E.

    A father's recovery of the real saint Nicholas

    Purchase from PDF e-book from Book Locker

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  • The Saint who would be Santa Claus:
    The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra

    English, Adam C.
    Baylor University Press, 2012

    A careful look at the real historic person, Nicholas of Myra, this accessible account brings together primary source material, modern scholarship, and tradition over the centuries from many places to create a compelling account of Nicholas' life and why it has been so influential, even today. Fully annotated.

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  • The Church of St. Nicholas at Demre

    Eyice, Semavi
    Türkiyemiz magazine, Vol. 21, No. 64, Haziran, 1991

    Good bi-lingual article on the church with photographs

  • Sinterklaas Overseas: The adventures of a globetrotting saint

    Faber, Paul
    KIT Publishers, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2006

    Brightly illustrated account telling how Sinterklaas is celebrated all around the world by expatriate Dutch, and sometimes, those they live among

    Purchase from KIT Publishers

  • The Real St. Nicholas

    Feister, John Booker
    St. Anthony Messenger, December 2002

    Good introduction and overview: Feature article by John Booker Feister

  • Sint-Niklaaskerk: Church in Ghent: History and Restoration

    Friends of St Nicholas's Church
    Ghent, 1996

  • In the Footsteps of Saint Nicholas

    George, Andreas C.
    Seaburn, 2005
    Astoria, New York

    A scholar's look at the life and influence of St. Nicholas, his role in the early church and later.

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  • The Life of Saint Nicholas

    Goldstein, Simeon
    St George Press, 1988
    Geneva, Nebraska

    Pamphlet with unusual legends

  • The Santa Map: A Cultural Geography of the World's Most Beloved Man

    Hedberg Maps, Inc., Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Large fold-out two-sided world map dotted with many facts, both history and culture, about Santa/Nicholas all over the world; illustrated

    Purchase from Hedburg Maps

    Purchase from,,

  • Service, Akathist, Life and Miracles of Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker

    Holy Trinity Monastery
    Holy Trinity Monastery, Printshop of St. Job of Pochaev, Jordanville, New York, 1996

    Complete service, akathist, prayer, and stories from Russia

  • The Early South English Legendary or Lives of Saints

    Horstmann, Carl
    Early English Text Society; N. Trubner & Co. / Kessinger Legacy Reprints, 1887; 2010
    London / Whitefish, Montana

    This is the Middle English MS Laud 108, the earliest English language manuscript of saints' lives. It contains 59 saints and other texts, including St. Nicholas.

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  • The Boy Bishop Ceremony

    Iles, The Revd Canon Paul
    RJL Smith, 1992

    Photographic essay from Hereford Cathedral; photography by Jeffrey G Wilkinson

  • Saint Nicholas of Myra, Bari, and Manhattan: Biography of a Legend

    Jones, Charles W.
    University of Chicago Press, 1978

    Thoroughly researched history of the cult of St Nicholas, for the serious reader

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  • The Saint Nicholas Liturgy:And Its Literary Relationships (Ninth to Twelfth Centuries)

    Jones, Charles W.
    University of California Press, 1963

    Carefully researched background of the medieval miracle plays, concluding that they were developed in academic and cathedral settings, not monastic, and were used for education, not worship

  • The Santa Claus Book

    Jones, E. Willis
    Walker Publishing, 1976

    Carefully researched pictorial biography; excellent

  • The American St. Nick: The True story of how a handful of American soldiers brought Christmas back to a small war-torn town during the darkest days of WWII

    Lion, Peter
    Tfe Publishing, 2019
    75th Anniversary Edition

    This true story tells how US soldiers brought hope and a joy to children in war-torn Wiltz, Luxembourg

    Purchase from,,

  • The Folklore Calendar

    Long, George
    Philip Alan; Random House UK Ltd, London, 1930; 1996

    Brief description of the Boy Bishop of Berden, Essex

  • The Man Who Was Really Santa Claus

    Lord, Daniel A., S.J.
    Eucharistic Crusade of the Knights and Handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament, St. Louis, MO, 1954

    Nice black and white illustrations; reflects 1950s culture

    Purchase from Mother of Our Savior (reprint)

  • The Medieval Boy Bishops

    Mackenzie, Neil
    Troubador Publishing, England, 2012

    Carefully researched account of the medieval tradition, its origins, election, ceremonies, activities and sermon. Also covers the suppression and decline of the practice and its more recent revival.

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  • The True Story of Santy Claus

    Macy, John
    private printing, 1968

    Small book with nice gravure illustrations by Claude S. Seward

  • St. Nicholas: His Legend and His Role in the Christmas Celebration and Other Popular Customs

    McKnight, George H
    Corner House Publications, 1974, reprint from 1917

    Survey of the life and legends of the good saint; for the serious reader

  • The Santa Papers
    St. Nichols of Myra: the unofficial autobiography

    Metts, Wally, jr
    Kadesh Press, 2012
    Kindle edition also available

    Breezy look introduces St. Nicholas, especially for evangelicals who may not know very much, if anything, about him. Told in contemporary vernacular in the saint's first-person voice.

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  • In Search of Santa Claus

    Miller, Rex
    The Turkish Press, Broadcasting and Tourist Department, 1955

    Information about St Nicholas, photos of Myra, various dates and editions

  • Santa Claus

    Nettel, Reginald
    Gordon Fraser Gallery Limited, 1957

    St Nicholas, European customs, and the development of Santa, illustrations and photos

  • The Battle for Christmas: A cultural history of America's most cherished holiday

    Nissenbaum, Stephen
    Vintage Books, Random House, Inc., 1996

    This social history chronicles the transition from a raucous, carnival holiday with drunkenessa and riot into a warm, domesticated family and consumer-centered festival.

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  • The Church of Saint Nicholas in Myra and Environs

    Ozgür, M. Edip and Kulelî, Esin
    Dönmez Yayinlari; Antalya Museum Publication IV, 1998

    Interesting information, many photos, and recreation of the church, from Turkey

  • Santa

    Paton, Kathleen
    Smithmark, 1998

    History of Santa, with opening section on Saint Nicholas; many illustrations

  • Saint Nicholas of Myra: More Blessed to Give than to Receive

    Roman, Michael
    Greek Catholic Union of the U.S.A., Beaver, Pennsylvania, 1996

    Stories and legends of Saint Nicholas with a hymn to Nicholas, the Guardian of the Greek Catholic Church

  • Saint Nicholas: A Saint for Today

    Rosenthal, Canon J M
    Anglican World, 1999

    A special insert reclaiming Father Christmas and Santa as Christian; rich images and photos

  • St. Nicholas: A Pictorial Reference

    Rosenthal, James
    Produced for the St. Nicholas Festival, Canterbury, England, 2002

    Introduction to St. Nicholas, illustrated with the author's photos

  • From the Holly Jolly to the Holy: Reclaiming the sacred during Advent and Christmas

    Rosenthal, Jim
    Forward Movement & Morehouse Publishing, 2013
    Also available as an ebook for Kindle, Nook & iPad

    Devotional booklet with scripture and reflection for all the days of Advent and Christmas; St. Nicholas shows how to live in these seasons with true Christian compassion and generosity, finding ways to recover the true joy and holiness of the season

    Bulk pricing available directly from Forward Movement

    Purchase from Cokesbury

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  • Saint Nicholas and the Anglicans

    Rosenthal, J M
    Saint Nicholas Society UK/USA, 2010

    Leaflet idetnifies some connections between the saint and Anglican and Episcopal tradition and locales

  • Icon of Gentleness: St. Nicholas

    Rosenthal, J M
    James Rosenthal, 2020; new edition
    London, England
    Also available in a Kindle Edition

    Good basic introduction to Saint Nicholas and some of his traditions around the world

    Purchase from,,

  • Icon of Gentleness: St Nicholas

    Rosenthal, J M
    AuthorHouse, 2017
    Bloomington, Indiana

    Easy introduction to St Nicholas, b/w illustrations; reprint from 2009

    Purchase from,,

  • Wonder Worker: The Essential St Nicholas

    Rosenthal, J M
    Southwark Diocese, 2022
    London, England


    Brief illustrated introduction to Saint Nicholas

  • Saint Nicholas: Icon of Gentleness

    Rosenthal, J M
    Saint Nicholas Society UK/USA, 2009

    A brief introduction to the saint and places associated with him

  • Santa: A Life

    Seal, Jeremy
    Bloomsbury, New York & London, 2005

    UK edition of "Nicholas: the Epic Journey from Saint to Santa Claus"

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  • Nicholas: the Epic Journey from Saint to Santa Claus

    Seal, Jeremy
    Bloomsbury, New York & London, 2005

    Follow Nicholas through time and around the globe to discover his evolving image

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  • The LIfe of St. Nicholas of Sion

    Sevcenko, Ihor and Nancy Patterson Sevcenko
    Hellenic College Press, Brookline, Massachusetts, 1984

    Text and translation of the 6th century account of Nicholas of Sion; this text became melded with accounts of Nicholas of Myra so that many of the episodes associated with Nicholas of Myra are rooted in the life of Nicholas of Sion. Greek and English.

  • The Life of Saint Nicholas in Byzantine Art

    Sevcenko, Nancy P.
    Bottega D'Erasmo, 1983
    Torino, Italy
    Monograph from the Centro Studi Bizanytini, Bari, Italy
    Text developed from a dissertation submitted to Columbia University, New York, in 1973

    Background information and detail of Byzantine St. Nicholas icon cycles from the 11th to 15th centuries.

  • The Real Saint Nicholas

    Stevens, Charles F.
    Pageant Publishing, undated

    Old booklet answering question, "Is there a Santa Claus?"

  • Swissair Gazette

    December 1986

    Issue devoted to Saint Nicholas—Santa Claus, many images in color

  • The Fleury Playbook: I, Four twelfth-century Saint Nicholas liturgical dramas

    Thomas, Wyndham, ed.
    Antico Edition MCM4, 1998

    Complete Latin text, with English translation by Margaret Hunt, and plainsong notation. The four plays are Tres Filie (The Three Daughters), Tres Clerici (The Three Scholars), Iconia Sancti Nicholai (The Image of St Nicholas), and Filius Getronis (The Son of Getron or the Golden Cup).

    Purchase from Antico Edition

  • Santa Claus Paper Dolls in Full Color

    Tierney, Tom
    Dover Publications, 1983

    The story of St. Nicholas to Santa told through illustrated paper dolls

  • Saint Nicholas in Distress

    Timmermans, Felix, English translation by Sheila Hönigsberg
    Society of Wood Engravers, 1998

    English version with engravings by John Lawrence

  • The Old English Life of St Nicholas with the Old English Life of St Giles

    Treharne, E. M.
    Leeds Studies in English, 1997
    Leeds, England

    The earliest vernacular (Old English) translation of the Greek and Latin texts of the life of Saint Nicholas from the Corpus Christi College, Cambridge 303 manuscript, dated to around 1150. The monograph contains the Old English text, translation of the text with commentary, and the Latin text from London, BL. Tiberius D. iv vitae of St. Nicholas.

  • The Icons of St. Nick

    Tschizewskij, Dmitrij
    Catholic Art Book Guild, 1964

    From the Pictorial Library of Eastern Art, many color plates of St Nicholas icons; original German edition, Icon: der Hl. Nikolaus, Recklinghausen, 1957

  • Were They Wise Men or Kings? The Book of Christmas Questions

    Walsh, Joseph J.
    Westminster John Knox, 2001

    Excellent resource, careful research; explains what is behind Christmas traditions and answers common questions with rare clarity and verve; good for older children and adults

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  • The Story of Santa Klaus: Told for Children of all Ages from Six to Sixty

    Walsh, William S.
    Moffat, Yard and Company, 1909
    Facsimile reprint Gale Research Company, Detroit, 1970

    Comprehensive introduction to Saint Nicholas and Christmas trees

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  • Who is Santa Claus? A History of St. Nicholas, the Christmas Tree, and the Three Wise Men

    Walsh, William S.
    history-bytes, 2012 (original edition 1909)
    Kindle edition

    Good introduction to St. Nicholas and other Christmas customs

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  • St. Nicholas Our Santa Claus

    Walwin, Peggy C.
    Albert E. Smith Printers Ltd., 1971

    Basic information on St Nicholas; much of the book is devoted to English St Nicholas churches

  • The Christmas Book

    Weiser, Francis
    Harcourt, 1952

    From the author of the classic "Handbook of Christian Feasts and Festivals," this simpler work is just about Christmas

  • Saint Nicholas

    Wheeler, Joe
    Thomas Nelson, 2010

    Part of the series, Christian Encounters; paperback has no illustrations

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  • St. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas

    Wheeler, Joe and Rosenthal, Jim
    Thomas Nelson, 2005

    A sumptuous coffee table book, generously illustrated with images of St. Nicholas from around the world, many full-page

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  • Wonderworker: The True Story of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus

    Yzermans, Vincent A.
    ACTA Publications, 2004 (1994)

    Comprehensive, illustrated account helps people today understand how Nicholas became known as a Wonderworker and the evolution of modern-day Santa. An easy read, especially for adults who want to tell children about St. Nicholas, or just understand for themselves.

    Purchase from,,

More Books About St. Nicholas
General St. Nicholas Books
Picture Books for Younger Children (and all ages)
Picture Books for Older Children
Books for Older Children
Saints Books for Adults
Saints Books for Children
Activity Books and Other Resources
Christmas Books with St. Nicholas
Related Books
Books in Other Languages
Children's Books in Other Languages

Digital Media

Church Year Resource Books for Families

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