From "December 25th" (1985) by Phillip Snyder:
In 1897 a little girl in New York City had a child-size problem: some of her friends said there was no Santa Claus. When she questioned her father, a doctor, he suggested she write to the "Question and Answer" of the Sun, the newspaper he perused each evening. Thus she wrote:
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 95th Street, New York City The reply to her letter was written by a reporter turned editorial writer, Francis Pharcellus Church. It was not until the day after his death in 1906 that it became widely known that he had penned the most famous editorial response in history:
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of the 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, and ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists 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 the world would be if there were no Santa Claus!