Jack Frost

Real Name

Jack Frost

First Appearance


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Jack Frost is a personification of frost and cold weather that is generally depicted as a mischievous imp-like creature, who uses his power over snow and ice to decorate winter landscapes. He can be friendly, but can also use his cold powers to kill. He is sometimes depicted as a friend of Santa Claus and sometimes depicted as his foil.

A number of public‐domain stories depict Jack Frost as being responsible for the change of leaf color in autumn. He dispatches fairies to transport a precious gift, but they waste time along the way, and so the gold and gems, which the fairies had left in the treetops, accidentally melt in the sun and change the colors of the leaves to browns, golds and reds. Jack likes the result so much he decides to do it annually.

Public Domain Literary Appearances

  • “Jack Froſt, the Doctor” (poem), by Moses Guest, 21 Dec. 1805, reprinted in The Spirit of the Public Journals; or, Beauties of the American Newspapers, for 1805, 1806. (Internet Archive)
  • “A Farmer to His Little Children, Attending Their Eldest Sister to the Byre, on a Winter Evening” (poem), by Thomas White, in Flowers of Literature, for 1806; or, Characteristic Sketches of Human Nature, and Modern Manners: To Which Are Added, a General View of Literature During That Period; Portraits and Biographical Notices of Eminent Literary, and Political Characters; with Notes, Historical, Critical, and Explanatory1807. (HathiTrust)
  • “A Newengland May Morning” (poem), by Z., The Port Folio, vol. 8 (new ser.), no. 1, July 1812. (HathiTrust)
  • “The Apparition” (poem), by John William Smith, The Gentleman’s Magazine, vol. 84, no. 3, Mar. 1814. (HathiTrust)
    • Reprinted as “Jackey Frost and Sally Snow,” in Terrors of Imagination, and Other Poems, 1814. (HathiTrust)
  • “A Seasonable Sonnet,” by Pedestrius, The Monthly Repository, &c., vol. 10, no. 110, Feb. 1815. (HathiTrust)
  • Piece on Jack Frost in False Stories Corrected: Learn to Unlearn What You Have Learned Amiss1822. (Internet Archive)
  • “Jack Frost, the Bridge Builder” (poem), in Poems on Several Occasions: To Which Are Annexed, Extracts from a Journal Kept by the Author While He Followed the Sea, and During a Journey from New‐Brunswick, in New‐Jersey, to Montreal and Quebec, by Moses Guest, 1823. (Internet Archive)
  • “Jack Frost and the Caty‐did” (poem), in Occasional Pieces of Poetry, by John G. C. Brainard, 1825. (Internet Archive)
  • “Henry Higgins and Miss Amelia Wiggins,” by Charles Dibdin, in The Universal Songster; or, Museum of Mirth: Forming the Most Complete, Extensive, and Valuable Collection of Ancient and Modern Songs in the English Language: With a Copious and Classified Index, Which Will, Under Its Various Heads, Refer the Reader to the Following Description of Songs, Viz. Ancient, Amatory, Bacchanalian, Comic, (English,) Dibdins’ Miscellaneous, Duets, Trios, Glees, Choruses, Irish, Jews, Masonic, Military, Naval, Scotch, Sentimental, Sporting, Welsh, Yorkshire &c. …, vol. 3, 1826. (Internet Archive)
    • Reprinted as “Frost Frolics; or, The Joys of Love” in The American Comic Songster: A Collection of All the Wit, Humour, Eccentricity, and Originality in Song, Which the Present Day Has Produced, 1834. (HathiTrust)
  • “He That Is Warm, Thinks All Are So” (poem), in Old English Sayings Newly Expounded, in Prose and Verse, by Jefferys Taylor, 1827. (Internet Archive)
  • “A Faithful and Right Merry Account of the Festivities at Colyton, Shute and the Ox‐Field, in Honour of John George Pole, Esqr. 21 Jany., 1829,” by W. H. Merle (d. 1878), published posthumously in “Coming of Age, and Ox‐Roasting in Devon,” by W. H. H. Rogers, The Western Antiquary; or, Note‐book for Devon & Cornwall, vol. 11, nos. 1–2, Aug.–Sept. 1891. (Internet Archive)
  • “The Frost,” Poems, by Hannah Flagg Gould, 1832. (Internet Archive)
  • “Jack Frost,” pt. 2 (poem), by L. R., The Essayist, vol. 1, no. 4, Apr. 1832. Presented as a sequel to Gould’s poem. (HathiTrust)
  • “Anecdotes of Mr John Frost, the Celebrated Landscape Painter” (poem), by Frances Sargent Osgood, Juvenile Miscellany, ser. 3, vol. 5, no. 3, Jan.–Feb. 1833. (HathiTrust)
    • Reprinted as “Jack Frost” in A Wreath of Wild Flowers from New England, 1838. (Internet Archive)
  • “On the Return of Spring, 1837,” in Original Miscellaneous Poems, Containing the Reflections of the Author on the Incidents of His Own Life, and a Variety of Other Subjects, During His Few Leisure Moments, by Robert McCracken, 1837. (Internet Archive)
  • “Jack Frost” (poem), in The Comic Almanack for 1838, with Twelve Illustrations of the Months1837. (HathiTrust)
  • “Charles,” ch. of Rollo’s Correspondence, by Jacob Abbott, 1839. (HathiTrust)
  • Christmas revel, 1839. Reviewed in “Christmas Revels,” The Literary Gazette; and Journal of the Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c., vol. 24, no. 1198, 4 Jan. 1840. (HathiTrust)
  • “What Jack Frost Did Last Winter,” ch. 27 of Breakfast‐Table Science: Written Expressly for the Amusement and Instruction of Young People, by J. H. Wright, 1839. (Internet Archive)
  • “Blarneyhum Ass‐trologicum pro Anno 1840,” in The Comic Almanack, for 1840: An Ephemeris in Jest and Earnest Containing “All Things Fitting for Such a Work” …, by Rigdum Funnidos (collective pseud. of Henry Mayhew, Horace Mayhew and Robert Brough), 1839. (HathiTrust)
  • “Jack Frost, a Song …,” by Samuel Griswold Goodrich, Robert Merry’s Museum, vol. 1, no. 1, Feb. 1841. (HathiTrust)
    • Revised and reprinted in Sketches from a Student’s Window, 1841. (Internet Archive)
    • Reprinted in The Little Speaker, and Juvenile Reader; Being a Collection of Pieces in Prose, Poetry, and Dialogue, Designed for Exercises in Speaking, and for Occasional Reading, in Primary Schools, 1849. (Internet Archive)
  • “Jack Frost, the Jeweler,” by Blanche, The Columbian Magazine, vol. 6, no. 1, July 1846. (Internet Archive)
    • Reprinted in The Gem of the Season for 1849: With Twenty Splendid Engravings, 1849. (HathiTrust)
  • “Whenever you are cold, and chilly, and quaking …” (poem), as part of “Correspondence of the Razor Strop Man,” by Henry Smith, New‐England Washingtonian, on or after 18 May 1847. Reprinted in The Life and Adventures of Henry Smith, the Celebrated Razor Strop Man, Embracing a Complete Collection of His Original Songs, Queer Speeches, Humorous Letters, and Odd, Droll, Strange and Whimsical Sayings, Now Published for the First Time; with an Accurate Portrait: To Which Is Added a Choice Selection of Songs, Anecdotes and Witticisms, Most of Them Original, 1848. (Internet Archive)
  • “Introduction to the Jack Frost Melodies,” as part of “Letter from Cousin Mary,” by M. H. Maxwell, The Boys’ and Girls’ Magazine, vol. 1, no. 4, Apr. 1848. (HathiTrust)
    • Expanded as “The Jack Frost Melodies” in The Juvenile Annual, or Holiday Melodies, 1852. (Internet Archive)
  • “Jack Frost,” in Day‐dreams, by Martha Allen, 1852. (Internet Archive)
  • “Jack Frost at Our Terrace,” by Charles Manby Smith, Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science and Arts, ser. 3, vol. 3, no. 64, 24 Mar. 1855. (HathiTrust)
    • Reprinted in The Little World of London; or, Pictures in Little of London Life, 1857. (Internet Archive)
  • “A Fly in Winter,” by S. A. W., in Melodies for Childhood1857. (HathiTrust)
  • “Epithalamium: John Frost and Sally Snow,” by Sally Mar‐Doll, reprinted in The Newspaper Press, in Part of the Last Century, and up to the Present Period of 1860: The Recollections of James Amphlett, Who Has Been Styled the Father of the Press, Extending over a Period of Sixty Years in Connexion with Newspapers, London and the Country1860. (Internet Archive)
  • “Jack Frost,” in Percy’s Year of Rhymes1866. (Internet Archive)
  • “The Cultivator Thus Speaks of the Change of Color,” Student and Schoolmate, vol. 25, no. 2, Feb. 1870. Mentions the belief that Jack Frost changes leaf colors. (Internet Archive)
  • Jack Frost, or God’s Finger in the Winter, by Ina Hervey, 1870. (HathiTrust)
  • “The Frost Fairies,” Birdie and His Fairy Friends: A Book for Little Children, by Margaret T. Canby, 1873. Jack Frost is a king who, one autumn, dispatches his “frost fairies” to bring a gift of gold and gems to Santa Claus, but the fairies waste too much time playing along the way, and so the gold and gems, which had been left in the treetops, melt in the sun and change the colors of the leaves. Jack likes the result so much he decides to do it every year. (Reproduced online)
  • “Jack Frost,” by Celia Thaxter, St. Nicholas, vol. 1, no. 2, Dec. 1873. (Internet Archive) (Google Books)
  • “Little Jack Frost: A Rhyme for Flossie,” by Charles Sangster, The Aldine, vol. 7, no. 16, Apr. 1875. (HathiTrust)
  • “The False Sir Santa Claus (A Christmas Masque for Young and Old),” by E. S. Brooks, St. Nicholas, vol. 10, no. 1, Nov. 1882. (Internet Archive)
  • “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh‐Ride,” by Katharine Lee Bates, Wide Awake, vol. 28, no. 1, Dec. 1888. (HathiTrust)
  • “Jacky Frost” (poem), in In My Nursery, by Laura E. Richards, 1890. (Internet Archive)
  • “The Frost King,” by Helen Keller, The Mentor, vol. 2, no. 1, Jan. 1892. In a retelling of Canby’s story (above), Jack is a king (“King Frost”) whose household fairies allow his gift of gems to accidentally melt in the sun and thus inspire him to change the color of leaves every autumn. (Internet Archive)
    • “Editorial Notes” (on the plagiarism controversy), The Mentor, vol. 2, no. 3, Mar. 1892. (Internet Archive)
  • “The Frost Fairy,” in The Wonderful Fairies of the Sun, by Ernest Vincent Wright, 1896. (Internet Archive)
  • “The Pretty Pictures,” The Prize Poetical Speaker …, 1901. (Internet Archive)
  • The Runaway Shadows (1901) by L. Frank Baum: Jack demonstrates the power to freeze shadows, separate them from their owners and give them life of their own. He is also revealed to be the son of the Frost King.
  • The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902) by L. Frank Baum: Jack takes pleasure in nipping "scores of noses and ears and toes." Santa Claus considers Jack a "jolly rogue", but asks him to spare the children. Jack says he will, if he can resist the temptation.
  • “An Ante‐Christmas Rondeau,” in Ventures into Verse: Being Various Ballads, Ballades, Rondeaux, Triolets, Songs, Quatrains, Odes and Roundels ❧ All Rescued from the Potters’ Field of Old Files and Here Given Decent Burial ❧ [Peace to Their Ashes], by Henry Louis Mencken, 1903. (Internet Archive)
  • “Jack Frost,” in Outdoors, Indoors, and up the Chimney, by Charles McIlvaine, 1906. (Internet Archive)
  • Jack Frost’s Mistake: A Very Clever One Act Operetta, for Thanksgiving or Any Time, by Clara J. Denton, 1907. (HathiTrust)
  • “Another Santa Claus,” by Emma Bolenius, American Motherhood, vol. 35, no. 6, Dec. 1912. (Google Books)
  • “Winter Scene in Holland” (p. 105), “Safe and Warm They Sleep” (109) and “The Bed in the Mill” (109), in Holland Tales, by Mary Estella Smith, 1913. (HathiTrust)
  • Mrs. Santa Claus, Militant: A Christmas Comedy, by Bell Elliott Palmer, 1914. After Mrs. Santa Claus steals Mr. Santa Claus’ sleigh one Christmas Eve, he catches up to her by getting a ride in Jack Frost’s airplane! (Google Books)
  • Mother Earth’s Children: The Frolics of the Fruits and Vegetables, by Elizabeth Gordon, 1914. (Internet Archive)
  • “A New Ally for Peace,” Life, vol. 64, no. 1672, 12 Nov. 1914. (HathiTrust)
  • “Jolly Jack Frost” (song), in Second Year Music, by Hollis Dann, Hollis Dann Music Course, 1915. (HathiTrust)
  • “Adding Insult to Injury” (rhyme), by L. J. Bridgman, St. Nicholas, vol. 43, no. 3, Jan. 1916. (Internet Archive)
  • “Is Jack Frost the Real Artist?,” by Bristow Adams, American Forestry: The Magazine of the American Forestry Association, vol. 22, no. 274, Oct. 1916. (Internet Archive)
  • Anita's Secret or Christmas in the Steerage (1917) by Walter Ben Hare: Jack helps Santa distribute gifts and claims to be his son.
  • The Luck of Santa Claus: A Play for Young People, by B. C. Porter, 1918. (Internet Archive)
  • Down the Chimney (1921) by Shepherd Knapp: Jack commands wind and snow fairies.
  • “There Was a Boy Who Lived on Pudding Lane: A True Account, if Only You Believe It, of the Life and Ways of Santa, Eldest Son of Mr. and Mrs. Claus,” by Sarah Addington, The Ladies’ Home Journal, vol. 38, no. 12, Dec. 1921. (HathiTrust)
  • “Jack Frost’s Court,” in “Suggestions for Pageants from Dramatizations,” Parties Plus: Stunts and Entertainment for Wartime Recreation, ed. Ethel Bowers, 1942. In the public domain from failure to renew copyright. (HathiTrust)
  • “Jack Frost Gives Chase to Great‐Grandfather,” ch. 1 of I Fell Among Farmers, by Lola Waterman Sigel, 1950. In the public domain from failure to renew copyright. (HathiTrust)
  • “Jack Frost Is on th’ Way” (poem), as part of “Adventure,” ch. 6 of Black on the Rainbow, by Dorothy Lee Dickens, 1952. In the public domain from failure to renew copyright. (HathiTrust)

Public Domain Film Appearances

Public Domain Comic Appearances

  • Wow Comics #14: Jack Frost meets Mary Marvel.
  • Santa Claus Funnies #2
  • March Of Comics #2 (How Santa Got His Red Suit): Jack steals Santa's sleigh.
  • Four Color #61
  • Li'l Pan #7
  • Little Jack Frost #1
  • The Land of the Lost Comics #3
  • Frisky Fables vol. 5 #1 [35]
  • Buster Bunny #2


L. Frank Baum portrays Jack Frost, the Frost King and Santa Claus as three clearly separate and distinct characters, and other writers similarly maintain distinctions at least between pairs of them, including having them interact with one another, but some writers conflate and combine them. For example, a number of public‐domain stories portray Jack Frost as a king with a palace and refer to him as King Frost. Also, Frost, or Morozko, is a Slavic god or demon who served as an antecedent to Ded Moroz, the Slavic Santa Claus, but is often portrayed as being much more like Jack Frost and, in at least one translation, is even called Jack Frost.

See Also

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