Wednesday, April 16, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

By
From page A4 | December 25, 2013 | Leave Comment

By Francis P. Church, first published in the New York Sun in 1897.

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of the Sun:

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

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except 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.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Francis P. Church’s editorial, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” was an immediate sensation, and went on to become one of the most famous editorials ever written. It first appeared in the New York Sun in 1897, 116 years ago, and was reprinted annually until 1949 when the paper went out of business. 
Thirty-six years after her letter was printed, Virginia O’Hanlon recalled the events that prompted her letter:

Quite naturally I believed in Santa Claus, for he had never disappointed me. But when less fortunate little boys and girls said there wasn’t any Santa Claus, I was filled with doubts. I asked my father, and he was a little evasive on the subject. It was a habit in our family that whenever any doubts came up as to how to pronounce a word or some question of historical fact was in doubt, we wrote to the Question and Answer column in the Sun. Father would always say, If you see it in the Sun, it’s so, and that settled the matter.

Well, I’m just going to write the Sun and find out the real truth, I said to father.
He said, Go ahead, Virginia. I’m sure the Sun will give you the right answer, as it always does.

And so Virginia sat down and wrote her parents’ favorite newspaper.
 Her letter found its way into the hands of a veteran editor, Francis P. Church. Son of a Baptist minister, Church had covered the Civil War for the New York Times and had worked on the New York Sun for 20 years, more recently as an anonymous editorial writer.

Now, he had in his hands a little girl’s letter on a most controversial matter, and he was burdened with the responsibility of answering it.

Is there a Santa Claus? the childish scrawl in the letter asked. At once, Church knew that there was no avoiding the question. He must answer, and he must answer truthfully. And so he turned to his desk, and he began his reply which was to become one of the most memorable editorials in newspaper history.

Virginia O’Hanlon went on to graduate from Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts degree at age 21. The following year she received her Master’s from Columbia, and in 1912 she began teaching in the New York City school system, later becoming a principal. After 47 years, she retired as an educator. Throughout her life she received a steady stream of mail about her Santa Claus letter, and to each reply she attached an attractive printed copy of the Church editorial. Virginia O’Hanlon Douglas died on May 13, 1971, at the age of 81, in a nursing home in Valatie, N.Y.

Mountain Democrat

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

.

News

EDH Fire Dept. annexing Latrobe

By Noel Stack | From Page: A1, 7 Comments

 
Motorcycle fatality in Greenwood

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
Greenwood School being restored

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Cal Fire increasing staffing, hiring

By Cal Fire | From Page: B1

 
EID restricts watering days

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1, 11 Comments

Lover’s Leap fall injures man

By Tahoe Tribune | From Page: A1

 
Tea Party meeting April 17

By Tea Party Patriots Of El Dorado Hills | From Page: A3, 48 Comments

 
Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking May 1

By El Dorado Hills Community Vision Coalition | From Page: A6

Floating body not a body

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A7

 
Old mill a goner

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A11, 18 Comments | Gallery

.

Letters

Middle class getting poorer?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 50 Comments

 
Real estate lies

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 13 Comments

A great big thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Murder? Suicide?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 7 Comments

‘Drive Clean’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

 
.

Sports

Griz have challenging day

By Mike Bush | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Outside with Charlie: Switch gear

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A8

Ponderosa volleyball is a family affair

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Aussie team makes visit

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A8

Roundup: April 15, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Prospecting

At a glance: Take aim on fun

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Men to walk a mile in her shoes

By Center For Violence-Free Relationships | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Runners stampede for Sugarloaf scholarships

By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Team works to fight disease

By Placerville Kiwanis | From Page: B3

 
COOL School is accepting applications

By Rescue Union | From Page: B4

Band of Miwoks fund mission

By Shingle Springs Band Of Miwok Indians | From Page: B12

 
.

Essentials

Crime Log: March 25-27

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
Weather stats 4-15-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Numa Edward “Ed” Roberts

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Ronald Russell Rohrer

By Contributor | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Horoscope, Thursday, April 17, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
Horoscope, Wednesday, April 16, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A10