Sunday, December 11

Is there a Santa Claus?

Is There a Santa Claus? was the title of an editorial appearing in the Sept. 21, 1897, edition of The New York Sun.

Dr. Philip O'Hanlon was asked by his 8-year-old daughter, Virginia, i
n 1897 whether Santa Claus really existed. He suggested she write to The Sun, a politically conservative New York newspaper that was published from 1833 until 1950, assuring her that "If you see it in The Sun, it's so."

One of the paper's editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, then wrote the most reprinted editorial to ever run in any English language newspaper.

The editorial, which included the famous line "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus," has become an indelible part of popular Christmas folklore in the United States and Canada.

Church later returned the original letter to Virginia who eventually gave it to a granddaughter. She pasted it in a scrapbook but it was thought that the original letter was destroyed in a house fire.

It was rediscovered 30 years later and was authenticated in 1998 by Kathleen Guzman, an appraiser on the Antiques Roadshow, at $20,000–$30,000.

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