It is now 121 years since eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon penned her query to The New York Sun, saying “Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?”
Her letter inspired Editor Francis Pharcellus Church’s eloquent editorial, affirming that “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” Today, Virginia’s letter and Mr. Church’s reply are renowned throughout the world; the story of her simple courage and his profound response to a little child’s question have earned a place in all our hearts and minds.
In September 2007, The Studio School opened its doors anew, on the site where Virginia O’Hanlon’s house at 115 West 95th Street once stood, and from where she wrote her famous letter. We feel honored to be in this very special place in New York City history, and have decided to include all of you, both children and adults, in our annual tribute to a remarkable little girl and the editor who had the wisdom to answer her question.
After you have read Virginia’s letter and Francis Pharcellus Church’s editorial reply, we invite you to write your own letter to Virginia. Tell her, in your own words, if you believe there is a Santa Claus, and what he means or represents to you. Describe how you experience the spirit of Santa. Make your letter 500 words or less, and send it to:
The Studio School
117 West 95th Street
New York, N.Y. 10025
This invitation is open to everyone. Of the letters received, we will post as many as possible on our website for all to enjoy, and notify the letter writers as they are posted.
The Studio School Student Essays
We asked our students to consider both Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to The New York Sun and Francis Church’s response, and write their own answers to Virginia’s question. Here are some of their essays.