Janet Emily Demarest

Storyteller, Author and Educator

Works


A Merry, Very Victorian Christmas! is a bit like a holiday smorgasbord, filled with our most beloved American Christmas traditions! A clever and thoughtful Christmas gift for teachers, Christmas stockings, grab bags, business contacts and spur-of-the-moment presents, this collection of history, trivia, tales and traditions - illustrated with classic 19th Century prints from Thomas Nast, Winslow Homer and other iconic artists whose artwork appeared in such publications as "Godey's Magazine and Lady's Book" and "Harper's Weekly" - will quickly become indispensable reading for every trivia, history or holiday buff on your list! Like the first yearly appearance of snow – so familiar, and yet so magical - the Victorian-inspired Christmas many of us create each year is a world of holly and ivy, “Silent Night” and Tiny Tim, Christmas trees and candy canes, Santa Claus and sleigh bells. How did these things become such an integral part of our American Christmas? Within these pages one will find many of the histories, anecdotes, and legends of the traditional foods, stories and songs that became popular in America during the Victorian era (1837-1901) and are still celebrated, enjoyed and cherished today, such as: - the lyrics and background to twenty-two of America’s favorite traditional Christmas carols, - instructions for twelve classic Victorian games to play, - the stories of Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus - Christmas during the Civil War and in the era of the General Store - the fascinating trivia and facts surrounding Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" - the complete "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem "Christmas Bells" (“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”) - the heartwarming "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus", and - six stories, ranging from "The Legend of the Poinsettia" to the beautiful story of the origin of the beloved carol "Silent Night", that beg to be read aloud to children, family and friends. Filled with amazing and obscure facts, the fascinating stories and histories of the things we do at Christmas every year - often without ever understanding why! - is certain to delight young and old alike. If you’ve ever wondered why we kiss under the mistletoe, or if a fruitcake really and truly can last forever, you will love this book! Illustrated.


Was Goody Garlick of East Hampton…a witch? Did Captain Kidd actually bury treasure here? Is there truly a curse on Lake Ronkonkoma? What role did a clothesline play in the American Revolution? And why on earth is there a statue of a bull in Smithtown? Much like the vast variety of goods found in a 19th century general store, this collection of entertaining and compelling stories - as told by a master storyteller- features a calico assortment of tales and characters: pirates and patriots, heroes and villains, and, yes, even a ghost or two! This unique book is written not from merely a historical perspective, but with the insight of an author who has worked nearly ten years as a storyteller in a public history museum. Because it is written in the storyteller’s voice, it is just as easy to curl up in a comfy chair to read this book alone as it is to read aloud to the family after dinner. This book tells not only the tales, lore and legends of Long Island’s past, but links the stories in each grouping together with the little bits of pragmatics – the geography, sociology, ecology, environmental science, culture, standards and livelihood of Long Islanders from 1640 through 1899 – that will allow the reader, young or old, history buff or not, to glean a greater understanding of Long Island's surprisingly ancient history. Ranging across the Island, west to east, South Shore to North Fork, these centuries-old tales reveal Long Island’s unique, colorful (and sometimes exaggerated) past. From the brave men and women of Washington’s spy ring to sagas of lost romance, from astonishing animals to “things that went bump in the night”, these stories reveal an intriguing and often humorous legacy of a Long Island that few today ever knew existed!

Quick Links

Selected Works

Christmas History and Traditions
Filled with amazing and obscure facts, the fascinating stories and histories of the things we do at Christmas every year - often without ever understanding why! - is certain to delight young and old alike.
Nonfiction
From Manhattan to Montauk, to read alone or aloud, the best loved legends and lore of Long Island!