Editor’s note: In the months before the Christmas of 1897, an 8-year-old girl named Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the New York Sun, asking if there really was a Santa Claus. Edward P. Mitchell gave the assignment to Francis P. Church, whose reply to Virginia appeared in the Sept. 21, 1897, edition of the Sun.
Virginia’s letter and Church’s reply, as it appeared in the Sun, are reprinted below. Virginia O’Hanlon Douglas died May 13, 1971.
Is there a Santa Claus?