Virginia Press


Yes, Virginia, your legacy continues.


At a moving event in December 2009, honoring the life and legacy of Virginia O’Hanlon, Janet C. Rotter, Head of School, announced the establishment of the Virginia O’Hanlon Scholarship, speaking passionately about The Studio School’s commitment to offering need-based scholarships for students of merit.


A large gathering, including three generations of the O’Hanlon family, attended the ceremony dedicating an historic plaque in Virginia’s name. After all, it was here, in 1897, that 8-year-old Virginia wrote her famous letter to The New York Sun, asking, “ Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?” Her question inspired Editor, Francis Pharcellus Church, to respond with one of the most renowned editorials in American History that contains the oft repeated words affirming, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”


Virginia O’Hanlon became a teacher, a principal, and an advocate for the rights of all children, regardless of social background, to have the same educational opportunities. In an eloquent tribute, one of Virginia O’Hanlon’s granddaughters observed that “A full circle has been completed and [my grandmother’s] life’s work continues. Virginia would be so very pleased.”




CBS Sunday Morning, December 16, 2018

The Washington Post, December 2014


The Examiner, December 2009


New York Times, December 2009


Janet C. Rotter's blog on the Huffington Post, December 2009

Here are some more articles about the story of Virginia O'Hanlon, her famous letter, and the house on West 95th Street:


by Junji Tachino, December 2009


New York Times, December 2008


New York Times, December 2004


New York Sun, December 2005 (PDF)


New York Times, September 1997


New York Times, December 1993


New York Times, December 1989 (PDF)



Janet C. Rotter, Head of School

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