famous editorial "Yes, Virginia,there is
a Santa Claus", written by Francis P. Church and published
in The New York Sun on September 21, 1897. The 8-year-old Virginia is
I am 8 years old. Some of my 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?
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 eternal 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 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.
No Santa Claus! Thank
God, he lives, and 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.
New York Sun, September 21 1897