Is there a Santa Claus? A 19th century answer.


Today I’m re-posting something from 2012 that I hope will get you all in the holiday spirit. For those of you who celebrate, I wish you a very Merry Christmas! See you in 2016!


It seems fitting that, with just a few days to go before Christmas, we take a look at that classic editorial from a veteran newspaper journalist to a little 8-yr-old girl, Virginia O’Hanlon.

Yes, I’m talking about the unsigned editorial:  “Is there a Santa Claus?” published in The New York Sun on September 21, 1897.  The writer was later identified as Francis Pharcellus Church.

F.P. Church; image via

Looks very serious, doesn’t he?  He should; he was a Civil War correspondent.  What he wrote in reply to this young girl has become a timeless piece, reprinted whole or in part more often than any other newspaper editorial in the English language.  The phrase “yes, Virginia” has become part of our lexicon.

Virginia O’Hanlon, date unspecified, via wikipedia

When 8-yr-old Virginia asked the question that makes all parents of young children squirm -“Is there a Santa Claus?” – her father, Dr. Phillip O’Hanlon, suggested she write to The Sun for her answer.  (Strategic parental deflection; quite impressive).  Below appears the entirety of the editorial in answer to her letter (which has since been verified as genuine).

For more about Virginia’s life, the editorial, and what has been done with it since, check the following links:

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” – Wikipedia

“Yes, Virginia” – Newseum

I wish each of you a wonderful holiday season, whether Santa is part of it or not!  And thank you for reading and supporting this blog over the past year.  I so appreciate all your comments and tweets.

After today, the blog will be on holiday hiatus until the new year.  I’m looking forward to catching up with you then!

Happy New Year,


2 people like this post.

3 thoughts on “Is there a Santa Claus? A 19th century answer.”

  1. PatriciaPatricia

    Finally – the proof I needed.

    I love that article!! So cool.

    Merry Christmas, Kathy.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  2. PhilPhil

    A classic story. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your family!


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