I am 8 years old...tell me the truth;
is there a Santa Claus?
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street,
New York City
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...There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence...No Santa Claus! Thank God, he lives, and he lives forever....
—Francis P. Church,
New York Sun,
Sept. 21, 1897
Excerpted from one of the most reprinted
newspaper editorials in history.
To hear a 1963 radio interview
with the real "Virginia"
66 years after she wrote
the above letter,