Vassar Today


Professor of English Donald Foster has established a national reputation as a literary sleuth. He has identified Shakespeare as the previously unattributed author of an obscure poem (see VQ Fall 1989). He marshaled textual evidence that contributed to the identification and conviction of Ted Kaczynski as the murderous Unabomber, (see VQ Winter 1998). He exposed journalist Joe Klein as the “anonymous” author of Primary Colors. 

In October Foster was back in the news—in the New York Times and on the Today Show the same day—promoting his new book, Author Unknown (Holt & Co.), and creating a stir by backing a claim that Poughkeepsie resident Henry Livingston Jr. and not Clement Clark Moore penned the early 19th-century American classic, “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas,” better known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Foster presents his evidence for Livingston and writes about the abovementioned cases and others in his new book.