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Is There A Santa Claus?
"Is There A Santa Claus?" was the headline that appeared over an editorial in the September 21, 1897 edition of the New York Sun. The editorial, which included the response of "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus," has become an indelible part of popular Christmas lore in the United States.
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In 1897, Dr. Philip O'Hanlon, a coroner's assistant on Manhattan's Upper West Side, was faced with a minor family crisis. His eight-year-old daughter, Virginia, had begun to doubt whether there was a Santa Claus, for her friends had told her that he did not exist.
Dr. O'Hanlon told her to write to the Sun, a prominent New York newspaper at the time, assuring her the paper would tell her the truth. While he was possibly passing the buck because he could not bear to tell his daughter that Santa Claus was a myth, he unwittingly gave one of the paper's editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, an opportunity to rise above the simple question, and address the philosophical issues behind it......