Rudolph was written by Illinois man


December 6, 2023

By Tom Emery

Think Rudolph is a funny name for a reindeer? It could have been Reginald, Rollo, or Rodney.

Eighty years ago, those were a few of the names considered for the red-nosed reindeer by Robert May, an Illinois copywriter whose creativity brought Rudolph to life in a 1939 storybook for Chicago-based department store giant Montgomery Ward.

Today, the hit song and iconic television special overshadow the original, as the first Rudolph told a different tale.

Rudolph became a turning point in the life of May, who had hailed from a comfortable New York background and graduated from Dartm...

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