Virginia O'Hanlon & Francis Church

Francis Pharcellus Church

Francis Church's father, Pharcellus, was a Baptist minister and journalist who founded The New York Chronicle.

Francis was a war correspondent for the New York Times during the Civil War.  After the war, he and his brother established The Army and Navy Journal and Galaxy Magazine.  When Galaxy merged with Atlantic Monthly, sardonic Francis became the Editor and an anonymous editorial writer for The New York Sun.

It wasn't until after his death in April, 1906 that it became publicly known that Francis Church had written the editorial reply to Virginia O'Hanlon's 1897 letter, which has become legendary and The Sun republidhed it during Chrisrmas time on the first page for 54 years, till 1950 when it stop existing. After then many angoanerican and other papers and magazines all over the world continued in this tradition.

Virginia O'Hanlon

Born in 1889, eight year old Virginia O'Hanlon lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, 115 West 95th Street and firmly believed in Santa Claus.  However, some of her young friends said there wasn't any Santa Claus and began to put doubt in her mind.

Virginia asked her father, Philip, a doctor who worked for the New York Police Department, if Santa Claus was real.

As in the past, the family had written to the "Question and Answer" column in The Sun to settle matters of fact 'If you see it in The Sun, it's so.'.  Philip recommended his daughter write to their favorite newspaper seeking an answer to one of the most famous questions of all time.


Having her faith restored, Virginia went on to graduate from Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1910 and received her Master's degrees from Columbia's Teachers College in 1911.  In 1912, she began a 47-year career as a teacher in New York City and later became a principal.  Virginia O'Hanlon Douglas died on May 13, 1971, at the age of 81 in a nursing home in Valatie, NY.

Thirty-six years after her letter was printed, Virginia O'Hanlon recalled the events that prompted her letter:

"Quite naturally I believed in Santa Claus, for he had never disappointed me. But when less fortunate little boys and girls said there wasn't any Santa Claus, I was filled with doubts. I asked my father, and he was a little evasive on the subject.

"It was a habit in our family that whenever any doubts came up as to how to pronounce a word or some question of historical fact was in doubt, we wrote to the Question and Answer column in The Sun. Father would always say, 'If you see it in the The Sun, it's so,' and that settled the matter.

" 'Well, I'm just going to write The Sun and find out the real truth,' I said to father.

"He said, 'Go ahead, Virginia. I'm sure The Sun will give you the right answer, as it always does.' "

Francis Pharcellus Church

Otec Francis Churche, Pharcellus, byl knezen a novinarem, ktery zalozil The New York Chronicle.

Francis byl valecnym dopisovatelem pro New York Times behem Civilni Valky. Po valce se svym bratrem zalozil Army and Navy Journal a Galaxy Magazine. Kdyz Galaxy se sloucila s Atlantic Monthly, cynický Francis se stal sefredaktorem a anonymnim uvodnikarem deniku New York Sun.

Teprve az po jeho smrti v dubnu, 1906 bylo prozrazeno, ze to byl on co napsal uvodnikarskou odpoved na 1897 dopis Virginia O'Hanlon, ktera se stala legendarni a deník Sun ji uverejnoval od té doby každým rokem znovu v predvánocním týdnu na titulní stránce. Cinil tak 54 let, až do roku 1950, kdy zanikl. A tehdy prevzaly tuto tradici cetné angloamerické i jiné noviny a casopisy po celém svete.

Virginia O'Hanlon

Narozena v roce 1889, osmileta Virginia O'Hanlon zila na Vyssi Zapadni Ctvrti Manhattanu, 115 Zapad 95 ulice, a pevne verila v Jeziska. Jeji kamaradi ji vsak rekli, ze zadnej Jesisek neni a tak vznesli pochybmost do jeji mysle.

Virzinia se dotazovala sveho otce, ktery byl doktorem Newyorske policie, zda Jezisek je?

Jak bylo jejich zvykem, O'Hanlonova rodina psalala dotaz do rubriky "Otazky a odpovedi" na rozreseni rodinych zalezitosti v duvere k novinam "Kdyz to napisi v Sun, musi to byt pravda". Tak Filip doporucil sve dceri, aby poslala dotaz jejich vybranym novinam na proslulou odpoved vsech veku.

Ubezpecena ve sve vire, Virginia dokoncila gymnazium Hunter College v roce 1910, pak dostala doktorat ma Ucitelske fakulte Columbia University 1911. V 1912 zacala svou ucitelskou 47-letou karieru na Newyorskych skolach, kde skoncila jako reditel. Virginia O'Hanlon Douglas zemrela na odpocinku ve Valatie, NY 13. kvetna, 1971 ve vehu 81 let.

Tricet sest let potom, co byl jeji dopis otisten, Virginia O'Hanlon si vzpomina na udalosti, ktere ji vedly k tomu dopisu:

"Uplme prirozene jsem verila v Jeziska, nebot me nikdy nezklamal. Ale kdyz mene stastni kluci a devcata rikali, ze neni Jezisek, zacala jsem pochybovat. Otazala jsem se otce, a on byl trochu vyhybavy na tento predmet.

"Bylo zvykem nasi rodiny, ze kdykoliv jsme o necem pochybovali, jako jak vyslovit nejake slovo, nebo o historicke udalosti, napsali jsme do rubriky Otazky a Odpovedi deniku Sun. Otec vzdy rikal, 'Kdyz to uvidis v deniku Sun, tak to musi byt pravda' a tim byla pochybnost vyresena.

"Dobre, tak napisu deniku Sun a dozvim se uplnou pravdu,' jsem rekla otci.

"On na to, 'Tak ano, Virginia, jsem si jisty, ze denik Sun ti da spravnou odpoved, jako vzdycky.'"