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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS


IS THERE A SANTA CLAUS? Asked eight year old Virginia O'Hanlon in a letter she wrote to the editor of The New York Sun & the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial September 21, 1897. YES, VIRGINA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS is an indelible part of popular Christmas folklore in the United States. The reply was the work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church & has become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, other editorials, movies, musicals, plays, posters, art work & stamps. Viginia was even represented as a balloon in the 2010 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

VIRGINIA O'HANLON ~ 1890s

VIRGINIA'S LETTER
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.

FRANCIS PHARCELLUS CHURCH ~ 1890s

THE NEW YORK SUN REPLY BY FRANCIS CHURCH
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 & knowledge.

THE NEW YORK SUN EXCERPT ~ 9/21/1897

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love & generosity & devotion exist, & you know that they abound & give to your life its highest beauty & 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 & sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

VICTORIAN SANTA POSTCARD ~ 1890s

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 they 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 & unseeable in the world.

VICTORIAN SANTA POSTCARD ~ 1890s

You may tear apart the baby's rattle & 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, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain & view & picture the supernal beauty & glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real & abiding.

VICTORIAN SANTA POSTCARD ~ 1890s

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

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May All Your Wishes Come True
Peace, Love & Grace, Lyndy Ward


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