The American version of the Santa Claus figure received its inspiration and its name from the Dutch legend of Sinter Klaas,

brought by settlers to New York in the 17th century.
 As early as 1773 the name appeared in the American press as "St. A Claus,"
but it was the popular author Washington Irving who gave Americans their first detailed information about the Dutch version of Saint Nicholas.
 In his History of New York, published in 1809 under the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker, Irving described the arrival of the saint on horseback
(unaccompanied by Black Peter) each Eve of Saint Nicholas.
The American image of Santa Claus was further elaborated by illustrator Thomas Nast,

 who depicted a rotund Santa for Christmas issues of Harper's magazine from the 1860s to the 1880s.
Nast added such details as Santa's workshop at the North Pole and Santa's list of the good and bad children of the world.
 A human-sized version of Santa Claus, rather than the elf of Moore's poem,

was depicted in a series of illustrations for Coca-Cola advertisements introduced in 1931 that introduced and made the red Santa Suits an icon.
 In modern versions of the Santa Claus legend, only his toy-shop workers are elves. Rudolph, the ninth reindeer, with a red and shiny nose,
was invented in 1939 by an advertising writer for the Montgomery Ward Company.
 In looking for the historical roots of Santa Claus, one must go very deep in the past.
 One discovers that Santa Claus as we know him is a combination of many different legends and mythical creatures.

 The basis for the Christian-era Santa Claus is Bishop Nicholas of Smyrna (Izmir), in what is now Turkey.
 Nicholas lived in the 4th century A.D. He was very rich, generous, and loving toward children.
 Often he gave joy to poor children by throwing gifts in through their windows.