Robert L. May was the creator of the lovable little deer, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. He wrote the story for his employer, Montgomery Ward, in 1939 while he was working as a writer for their ads and catalog. During the time he was working on the project, his wife had failing health due to cancer and the little deer helped Robert and his 4 year old daughter get through some hard times.
A little known fact is that Barbara (sitting with Robert in the photograph), was somewhat of a co-writer with Robert. He would write different sections of the poem and read them to her to get her expression. Often she would recommend phrase or word changes. Oh, and legend has it that Robert chose to write about a reindeer since Barbara loved going to the Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago) to see the reindeer enclosure.
Many years later, Barbara considered herself Rudolph's "big" sister. In the following sound clip, you can listed to Barbara read the original Rudolph poem. If you would like to follow along, below the sound clip is a slideshow of photographs of the original hand written mock-up of the pamphlet that was created for Montgomery Ward to hand out to their customers during the holiday season.