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Jack Frost
JackFrost

Real Name

Jack Frost

First Appearance

Unknown

Created by

Unknown

Origin

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)
  • “A Farmer to His Little Children, Attending Their Eldest Sister to the Byre, on a Winter Evening” (poem), by Thomas White (1807)
  • “A Newengland May Morning” (poem), by Z., The Port Folio (July 1812)
  • “The Apparition” (poem), by John William Smith, The Gentleman’s Magazine (Mar. 1814)
    • Reprinted as “Jackey Frost and Sally Snow”
  • “A Seasonable Sonnet,” by Pedestrius, The Monthly Repository, &c. (Feb. 1815)
  • False Stories Corrected (1822)
  • “Jack Frost, the Bridge Builder” (poem), by Moses Guest (1823)
  • “Jack Frost and the Caty‐did” (poem), by John G. C. Brainard (1825)
  • “Henry Higgins and Miss Amelia Wiggins,” by Charles Dibdin (1826)
    • Reprinted as “Frost Frolics; or, The Joys of Love”
  • “He That Is Warm, Thinks All Are So” (poem), by Jefferys Taylor (1827)
  • “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, The Western Antiquary; or, Note‐book for Devon & Cornwall (Aug.–Sept. 1891)
  • “The Frost” (poem), by Hannah Flagg Gould (1832)
  • “Jack Frost,” pt. 2 (poem), by L. R., The Essayist (Apr. 1832). Presented as a sequel to Gould’s poem.
  • “Anecdotes of Mr John Frost, the Celebrated Landscape Painter” (poem), by Frances Sargent Osgood, Juvenile Miscellany (Jan.–Feb. 1833)
    • Reprinted as “Jack Frost”
  • “On the Return of Spring, 1837” (poem), by Robert McCracken (1837)
  • “Jack Frost” (poem), The Comic Almanack for 1838 … (1837)
  • Rollo’s Correspondence, by Jacob Abbott (1839)
  • Christmas revel, 1839, reviewed in The Literary Gazette; and Journal of the Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c., (4 Jan. 1840)
  • Breakfast‐Table Science, by J. H. Wright (1839)
  • “Blarneyhum Ass‐trologicum pro Anno 1840,” by Rigdum Funnidos (collective pseud. of Henry Mayhew, Horace Mayhew and Robert Brough) (1839)
  • “Jack Frost, a Song …,” by Samuel Griswold Goodrich, Robert Merry’s Museum (Feb. 1841)
  • “Jack Frost, the Jeweler,” by Blanche, The Columbian Magazine (July 1846)
  • “Whenever you are cold, and chilly, and quaking …” (poem), by Henry Smith, New‐England Washingtonian (1847)
  • “Introduction to the Jack Frost Melodies,” by M. H. Maxwell, The Boys’ and Girls’ Magazine (Apr. 1848)
    • Expanded as “The Jack Frost Melodies,” 1852
  • “Jack Frost,” by Martha Allen (1852)
  • “Jack Frost at Our Terrace,” by Charles Manby Smith, Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science and Arts (24 Mar. 1855)
  • “A Fly in Winter” (poem), by S. A. W. (1857)
  • “Epithalamium: John Frost and Sally Snow” (1860)
  • “Jack Frost,” Percy’s Year of Rhymes (1866)
  • “The Cultivator Thus Speaks of the Change of Color,” Student and Schoolmate (Feb. 1870) Mentions the belief that Jack Frost changes leaf colors.
  • Jack Frost, or God’s Finger in the Winter, by Ina Hervey (1870)
  • “The Frost Fairies,” 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.
  • “Jack Frost,” by Celia Thaxter, St. Nicholas (Dec. 1873)
  • “Little Jack Frost,” by Charles Sangster, The Aldine (Apr. 1875)
  • “The False Sir Santa Claus,” by E. S. Brooks, St. Nicholas (Nov. 1882)
  • “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh‐Ride,” by Katharine Lee Bates, Wide Awake (Dec. 1888)
  • “Jacky Frost” (poem), by Laura E. Richards (1890)
  • “The Frost King,” by Helen Keller, The Mentor (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.
    • “Editorial Notes” (on the plagiarism controversy), The Mentor (Mar. 1892)
  • “The Frost Fairy,” by Ernest Vincent Wright (1896)
  • “The Pretty Pictures,” The Prize Poetical Speaker … (1901)
  • 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,” by Henry Louis Mencken (1903)
  • “Jack Frost,” by Charles McIlvaine (1906)
  • Jack Frost’s Mistake, by Clara J. Denton (1907)
  • “Another Santa Claus,” by Emma Bolenius, American Motherhood (Dec. 1912)
  • Holland Tales, by Mary Estella Smith (1913)
  • Mrs. Santa Claus, Militant, by Bell Elliott Palmer (1914) After Mrs. Santa Claus steals her husband’s sleigh one Christmas Eve, he catches up to her by getting a ride in Jack Frost’s airplane!
  • Mother Earth’s Children, by Elizabeth Gordon (1914)
  • “A New Ally for Peace,” Life (12 Nov. 1914)
  • “Jolly Jack Frost” (song), by Hollis Dann (1915)
  • “Adding Insult to Injury” (rhyme), by L. J. Bridgman, St. Nicholas (Jan. 1916)
  • “Is Jack Frost the Real Artist?,” by Bristow Adams, American Forestry (Oct. 1916)
  • 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, by B. C. Porter (1918)
  • Down the Chimney (1921) by Shepherd Knapp: Jack commands wind and snow fairies.
  • “There Was a Boy Who Lived on Pudding Lane,” by Sarah Addington, The Ladies’ Home Journal (Dec. 1921)
  • “Jack Frost’s Court,” Parties Plus (1942)
  • I Fell Among Farmers, by Lola Waterman Sigel (1950)
  • “Jack Frost Is on th’ Way” (poem), by Dorothy Lee Dickens (1952)

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

Note

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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