September 21, 1897: The Sun Reports There is a Santa Claus

On this day in 1897, The (New York) Sun published its famous editorial, “Is There a Santa Claus?” The piece, which included the famous line, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” is ingrained in holiday pop culture and has become the most reprinted editorial in the history of the English language.

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus Original ClippingOn this day in 1897, The (New York) Sun published its famous editorial, “Is There a Santa Claus?” The piece, which included the famous line, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” is ingrained in holiday pop culture and has become the most reprinted editorial in the history of the English language.

The story goes that eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon asked her father if Santa Claus really existed.  He suggested that she write to the now-defunct Sun, saying, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” She did and one of the editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, took the opportunity to write a philosophical response. The full text of Church’s editorial can be found on the Newseum’s website, but he reassured her, along with children and adults everywhere, writing:

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.

The editorial quickly received national attention and has since become a staple of holiday television and movies as well as charity campaigns.

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