Is there a Santa Claus?

Published 11:49 am Saturday, December 22, 2012

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote to the editor of New York’s The Sun asking for help in answering one of childhood’s most lingering questions. Francis Pharcellus Church, veteran newspaperman at the Sun, penned the paper’s response as an unsigned editorial that published Sept. 21, 1897.

Since that time, both Virginia’s letter and the newspaper’s response have become part of the American fabric; both are published below in their entirety. Church’s words, just as they did in 1897, ring true today.


Dear Editor:

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.” Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

– Virginia O’Hanlon.

115 West Ninety-Fifth Street

“Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.