NOTE: I first posted this series two years ago, in December of 2006, on another blog. I have seen nothing to make me change my original statements.
*****Modern political correctness and rampant nannyism are revising history. Many contemporary renditions of Santa Claus have removed the pipe. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before someone re-writes "The Night Before Christmas" to remove the stump of a pipe clenched tight in his teeth.
Today and continuing through Christmas Day I will be posting a series of old portrayals of Santa Claus, one each day. No (or at least, minimal) commentary, just pictures.
The first item up is from 1901.